Talk Back: Sachem's Drug Problem?

Recent arrest in heroin ring, multiple nasal Narcan incidents, sparks conversations of rampant drug use.

On August 8, police and EMS volunteers rescued a parking lot on Ronkonkoma Avenue in Ronkonkoma. The police on the scene administered nasal Narcan, a procedure known to save overdose victims who ordinarily may have died before they reached the hospital.

On August 10, nasal Narcan was who had overdosed in the parking lot of the Mobil gas station on Express Drive North in Holbrook.  

And yesterday, a Farmingville woman was arraigned in court for her alleged involvement in a heroin-prostitution ring that was widespread across Sachem and the rest of Long Island.

In the comment thread of one story, the heroin use was described as an "epidemic." It got us thinking about this poll question.

We ask: "Does the Sachem community have a serious underground drug problem going on?"

Take our poll, or drop a comment beneath this article.


Pat M August 14, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Obviously it isn't working Jon.
Concerned Parent August 14, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Just sickens me as I have children in this district... We all try to raise our children right.. The really sad part is parents today are working FT jobs & can't control everything teens are doing today... I have CARS parked near a LIPA right of way with grown adults leaving bloody needles in tissues.... SCPD needs to step it up!!!!!
Kelly S August 14, 2012 at 02:42 PM
I watch drug deals happen on my block on a daily basis. I hear stories of people I graduated with being coke and heroin addicts. I'm sure many places have these drug problems but something must be done about it. With the way things are going I would not want to raise a family in the sachem community in the future.
Pat M August 14, 2012 at 02:43 PM
We were concerned too. That's why we spoke to the Sachem principal. He was in denial. We're glad our kids are out of Sachem now, but we are seeing the wake of destruction of a lot of their friends who have been caught up in the addiction. Remember a few yeas ago when the kid got run off Patch-holbrook road and killed by a drug dealer? Both my kids knew him. Very sad.
Jon August 14, 2012 at 03:26 PM
We always look to point fingers. A principal at Sachem is responsible for the education of 2000 kids. Don't leave the responsibility of keeping your kids away from drugs to him. Start taking responsibility by not abusing drugs and alcohol yourself. Lock you home supply of prescription drugs and monitor the inventory regularly. Don't allow abuse of over the counter medicine in your house. Look for signs of gateway drug (cigarettes) /alcohol use. Talk to your kids, ask questions and show them you care. Limit your kids opportunities to succumb to dangerous decision making. Forbid your kids to be in the presence of dangerous kids and ignorant parents. None of this is easy, but could it be more important??? This is not a Sachem issue, its an American issue. Communities in well off neighborhoods to poor, must deal with these issues.
Jenn August 14, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I am a volunteer for the Ronkonkoma fire dept. as an emt, I see a lot of heroIn overdoses. I was born and raised here in Ronkonkoma and there was never this big of a drug problem before. When I was in high school from 1999-2002, there were drugs but it wasn't out of control. What concerns me is that with all of the heroin overdoses I see, how many others are using and not overdosing. I'm sure the numbers are astronomical. Another Fact I want to point out is about the nasal narcan drug program that is mentioned earlier. Nasal narcan was just introduced recently in Suffolk county and within the first couple of weeks it was used 5 times county wide, 3 times being Ronkonkoma fd. This is a growing epidemic that needs to change. And I think it starts with scpd and rehab programs.
Jenn August 14, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Another thing I want to add that makes me point a finger at scpd. I am a manager for a restaurant here in Ronkonkoma and there have been 2 overdoses on my property. The police are called countless times because of the drunks (that are known to hang out behind king kullen) and usually I have to wait at least twenty minutes if they even come at all. They don't want to be bothered. I had two of the homeless drunks fighting in my dining room throwing tables and chairs over drug use in my bathroom, I called pd 2 times and they didn't show up after I called them a 3rd time when the one guy was choking the other they finally showed up. And these guys are getting paid $100k a year? And don't get me wrong, I don't want to point a finger to all scpd because I know there are some that get the job done.
Pazi Steklo August 14, 2012 at 03:49 PM
It doesn't help that there are no jobs on Long Island as It's causing good people to move to the mainland for jobs. With those people also goes any tax revenue. Without those taxes, we can't sustain the medical costs that the jails impose due to the amount of junkies in them. Jails are over crowded, (just look at those twin bro's who only got 6 months for robbing two banks!!!!) there's no budget to expand the jails, to run the jail rehabs or clinics and to stop the demand. So guess what? The junkies get back on the streets and more then likely go back to doing poison. If we want our 'hoods back, then its' time to step it up folks. Sorry but I don't want Sachem turning into a CI, Brentwood or Wyndanch. because the more we keep quiet and try to sweep it under the carpet, it's still there...just, under the carptet. And if that doesn''t work, then we can expect the gangs to move in next to feed the supply. I know you don't want gangs in your neighborhood right? Supply and demand. Sachem doesn't have a super hero to save us so it looks like it's up to us to make the difference.
Pat M August 14, 2012 at 03:50 PM
No finger pointing here. But don't a lot of people wish Joe Paterno would have spoke up when alerted to a problem? The fact is everyone should speak up when they hear of things in their community and people in responsible positions should listen. Even a school principal should listen and take it seriously.
Jenn August 14, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Jon, well said. The only problem is that the people who are not monitoring that are not on this site. Unfortunately, we need to keep are kids away from those bad crowds which is even harder to do. But that is a challenge I am going to take when my kids are older
Ryan Bonner (Editor) August 14, 2012 at 08:39 PM
From our Facebook page: Paul Narici: Its not just in Sachem, Its island wide. Gary Stadler: Its not just kids doing it. this drug problem reaches across age and gender. You would be shocked on who is hooked on drugs. Paul Narici: It happening right on you blocks. They pull over and shoot up. . It all over and the cops cant even get a handle on how wide spread it is. Debbie DiPiazza Rutherford: Underground? Not anymore. How about dealers selling in broad daylight across the street from homes with kids (and the dealers are kids themselves), older folks on the block using drugs even though they are grandparents, kids doing drugs on the grounds of alternative high school, etc...Yes, it is all over but Sachem has a huge problem starting with marihuana escalating to heroin. Until the SCPD takes a more pro-active position like in NYC, I don't see an improvement. (And the parents/family members need to step up and take the 1st step with the kids who are using. We cannot condone this behavior. To look the other way when they smoke pot is inexcusable. It is a gateway drug and can lead to further problems.)
Concerned Parent August 14, 2012 at 09:10 PM
This problem is too deep... What makes a person decide to push herion needles into their arms to get high... Knowingly that they can die of an overdose... The first time.... It's disgusting! Sachem needs a drug task force that actively patrols areas & does something to these ignorant Adults & Children!!!! I can name 3 places they can be daily & find more than 5 addicts a day!!!!! Take our neighborhoods back, before it's too late, once & for all.
Jamie August 15, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Jenn you are sooo right! The 4th precinct is the worst. They do not care about Ronkonkoma at ALL! We had a near riot over a 100 kids on our block, with guns, knives and bats and the police took over a half hour to show up ( and this was with MANY calls from MANY people) and when they finally did they let EVERYONE go. Last January we had some guy try to break into our house and you know what the police did?? They caught him in our backyard and they drove him to his girlfriend's house! They claimed he had the wrong house. Do you believe that! No charges nothing. I called and spoke to the inspector and he told me he would get back to me and nothing. To me what is going on in the 4th might be a case of what happened in Nassau that got an inspector demoted! I think it's time to start investigating the stats of this area!
Jamie August 15, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Because the police do not want to hear about. We have made it known about the problems along the right of way, but do they increase patrols? Nope. It is well known that our car is backup for the mall and has to go every time there is a problem there. I rarely see our car in our area. The police in this area just refer to our car as the "Springerville" car so seriously what kind of respect do they have for this area!
John Cosgrove August 15, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Holy god.. How about accountability folks? Maybe just maybe if you "force" you kids to play sport year-round so they dont have time to get involved with these skells..maybe just maybe you force your kids to not hang with bad influences, hey make the stay home on school nights, 12 mid curfew on weekends.. and how about this..Talk to them, look for changes in behavior..100% nothing will happen? No . but it helps
Concerned Parent August 15, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Ok... We get accountability... But how do you stop grown adults & teens (that aren't yours) pushing needles literally on my block??? Huh... How does that freakin end? I'm getting license plates & have cameras on my house... Im Sick of this... Coming from the city, I refuse to have my 8 yr old be scared to walk on my own front lawn becausey neighbor found some losers needles!!!!!
Sally August 15, 2012 at 06:43 PM
My parents were amazing parents and I did my best not to fall into the bad crowds and I played sports from 2nd grade into college, and I had a curfew. When I was growing up, we all "tried" cigarettes and alcohol and maybe pot. Why? Because it was all around us and it was cool and the "in" thing to do. But I couldn't do what the other kids were doing because I was always busy with sports or dancing or music lessons. My mother was a stay at home mom who pushed us into everything and talked to us daily. So while I believe it does start at home, I also believe that if it's accessible and your child is curious enough, it's inevitable to fold to peer pressure at some point. The difference being that back then,heroin was not in the hallways like it is now. As far as Sachem is concerned, I SEE it in front of my house! 2 weeks ago, a car parked at the end of my driveway. The lights were on inside the car and I could see 4 people shooting up, including the driver! When I called the police,they asked me if I got a plate number, to which I replied "sorry, I'm not walking up to the car full of addicts late at night to get their plate #". They were there long enough that if a cop came, they could have made an arrest. Instead, the driver who was now instantly high, drove off into the night. It's not my high paying job to go out there and risk my life. I have family all over L.I. and when I tell them this story,they gasp in horror. I'm scared, on my own front lawn. Normal? I think not.
John Cosgrove August 15, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Concerned Parent. I understand what youre saying 100%. Drugs will find our towns and neighborhoods. My point is a great preventative measure is if Parents keep track of their kids time. Sports/clubs teach kids many life lessons..many, it also keeps them off the street. Christ I see kids, no older than 14 hanging out on weekends past 1am.. how does the parent let that happnen.. FORCE your kid to partake in post school " stuff" FORCE.. Will this keep drugs and these scumbags out of their lifes?? Maybe not but it will reduce the chances.. Do great kids at times turn to drugs? They do.. But if they are busy until 5pm Everyday, and have curfews, and parents stay awake to " view" them when they get home it greatly reduces that chance. Heck its a good start..
John Cosgrove August 15, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Sally, great comment. I'm a big strong guy, and I once approached a car with bat-in -hand and after doing so realized they could have shot be..I got the plate, the prick-kid had his dad's car. The Dad was contacted and said " what should I do, prove it to me this guy (me) saw them doing drugs.. Three days later my new jeep was keyed..And these cops that do DICK would not go back to that parent telling me " how do you know his kid did it". Nobody should be forced to live like this.
Sally August 15, 2012 at 07:33 PM
But we are forced to live like this.I am afriad for my car in the driveway. I am afraid to go on vacation,even with my cameras rolling and my alarm set. I'm afraid to let my 10 year old play on the front lawn for fear that he may see something,or step on a needle or worse,be kidnapped. I'm afraid that if/when I call the cops for a real emergency (4th precinct) that they won't get here in time I'm afraid that the driver in the opposite lane may be high or that someone on the LIE is going the wrong way while I'm on it. Granted,I don't live my life in seclusion or worry to the point of panic, but I think about these things probably much more than I should because of what I see and deal with in reality. I don't even need the media coverage to tell me about it. It forces me to be vigilant, extra cautious and probably over protective of my loved ones. But if it brings them home to me every night, I don't care. The cops and the politicians aren't going to do anything but pat themselves on the back when they catch ONE ringleader. It's up to us, as a community, as parents and as human beings to watch each others backs. Drive a little slower, put the electronic devices down, talk to your kids, get involved at school...what happened to discipline? I feared my father when I did something bad, not because he hit us, but because there was respect for the parent in the household. Does that even exist today? It does in my house. I can only hope they put it forth outside my doors....
John Cosgrove August 15, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Dad touched his belt, mom grabbed the wooden spoon. I was afraid to not act in the right manner..!!! I . I live in Lake Ronk. Still a nice area, but idiots are invading :) We have to be so carefull, neighbors must look out for each other, and somehow we need to get local goverment involved so we can be comfortable in our own homes. And Im with you , no panic.. live a full life. But all you need is one event and it really changes you
lois small August 19, 2012 at 05:05 AM
Forcing your kids to play sports year round and all of your other tips are well and good, but I can assure you that is not the answer. I did all of those things and more with my child and believe you much more only to have my child become a drug addict. It goes further than all of that. Addiction is a disease and no matter how "busy" you keep your child, if they choose to do drugs they will find a way. Many of the people that my child hung out with were not bad influences, they just made bad choices. If it were that easy to prevent drug and alcohol problems in our youth we would have beaten this problem long ago. Unfortunately this problem can attack anyone, busy or not, watched or not, curfew or none. It goes much deeper than these issues and I fear by making parents feel that they have to structure every second of their childs life and control every movement they make will only lead to dissapointment for both parent and child. Talk to your kids honestly and stop believing this problem is one of other families, it could happen to anyones family.
lois small August 19, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Again, I have to reply. Most of the kids I "forced" my child to hang out with thru sports and clubs were the ones who were drinking or doing drugs too, they just werent getting caught because who would think to not "trust" a sports minded, good student. When I see all of the kids my child went to school with that have addiction issues, it unfortunately didn't seem to make a difference. Teaching our youth early on about the real consequences of drug and alcohol use is something our community is going to have to accept, Just staying busy and the Just say no motto is no longer good enough.
John Cosgrove August 19, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Lois, I agree 100% teaching at a young age is vital. How about a field trip to a rehab center, am meth clinic or jail.. Lets start them im 6th grade...scared straight..im all for it..But please accountability of your child, getting him involed in a defined group structuce like sports, like clubs is a KEY versus letting your kids come home at 1pm, having no structure, no balance, no goals..If your kid has to " perform" when he's on drugs you will know. Shoot i know kids who ae doing strong stuff and their parenst do nothing about it. They want to live in a world woth blinders on. The VAST majority of kids that are hooked now are kids that showed mutiple signs that they needed help. Its a mess out there. But all accountability starts at home.
Concerned Parent August 19, 2012 at 08:36 PM
John... I'm with you... The sad part is some of this kids roaming the streets at nite don't have any structure at home. As many parents don't have their priorities straight. Too busy with the All About Me Factors.... & wanting to be friends not parents. This past weekend a neighbor had another big party... Kids underage drinking all over streets till past 4am. Cops past... But didn't stop these disrespectful party goers!!!! Wanted to bring all the empty beer bottles left on my lawn and leave them on the cool parents lawn.... Sick of this crap....
dont blame me August 22, 2012 at 04:04 AM
im a recent young sachem grad and the statement is beal means true. as adults you hear it i was the student that scene it in the hallways, classrooms the bus rides to nd from school, lunchroom everywhere. its sad, the memorys i shared with my classmates were great over the years, tho as we grow older things change nd so do the people but to count the number i went to school with and now the 1's that are still left its jus wrong. what i mean is that, there's been many death's in the Sachem family overdoses and accidients harable molments that we do forget. but to end it from 2005 to right now the drug addicition problem has got to be at the all-time worst for we this Sachem family
Courtney August 22, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Sally, drop the dramatics. The sachem area isn't the new Bedstuy. You don't need to over-react in order to express your concern. I graduated Sachem in 2005. Like many, I experimented with substances. From the time I left elementary, I was exposed to this whole new world. Kids were having sex, kids were doing drugs. You saw it start with prescriptions.. percs, xanx, valium, vicodine. As we got older, and kids were tired of those drugs, it became OCs , roxies, coke, heroine. I came from a wonderful family, attentive parents. But hey, i even experimented. wasn't their fault!!! It was my fault. My friends were experimenting, and they too came from wonderful families. Sure they taught us right from wrong, but at a young age, you feel invisible and you will do things that may get you killed. I was popular, smart and did very well in school. Getting your child in sports will not keep them from drugs. If you people were just flys on the wall, you would know about the cheerleaders, soccer players, football, dancers, kids on the chess team , doing drugs. It was every where. Kids in top of their classes were doing drugs. The rich, poor, smart, stupid, athletic , non athletic...WERE ALL DOING DRUGS. Just some were more smart about it than others. They knew when and when not to use. Others took it too far. If you only knew how many sachem grads went to rehab from the years 04-06. Everyone from the schools, SCPD, to parents knew. But they were too busy complaining on sachem patch.
Sally August 27, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Hey Courtney....I'm not being dramatic. I'm being realistic. You were probably one of the kids "experimenting" in the car with your friends in front of someone's house and until you have kids (or maybe you do already, having possibly had sex right out of elementary school), don't tell me, I'm over reacting when it comes to the care of children who are NOT of age to be witnessing these things. I'm not naive to those who do it and am aware that it's affecting all walks of life. My issue is with the those who put MY life danger by driving high or throwing a needle on my property....and I happen to be in the Sachem community. We all do stupid things when we are young, myself included. But when you get to a certain age, it's time to take responsibility for your actions. I don't come on Sachem Patch to complain. I read the news in my community and try to stay involved for the better of my family. You can fault me for that if you like, but I pay to live here and I have a right to my opinion.
Tracey January 24, 2013 at 06:37 PM
It is amazing to me how everyone is pointing the finger , My god people dont you see the writing on the wall ? Everyone is to BLAME, if you turn your head and act like the big Purple COW isnt in the room Than it’s your fault ! I have three kids 2 have graduated from North and one a year away from completing it , You know what they always said - YOU CAN GET ANYTHING you want@North It’s like a candy store you don’t see what you want Just ASK ,If Sachem wants to turn their heads and do NOTHING than they are to blame Send home a paper on everything else under the sun Make automated calls to homes for EVERY event , But NEVER an acknowledgement about a student overdosing or drinking and driving ( You get caught its should be and is Public knowledge,The kids know about it , they are talking about it but are learning if it’s not in their backyard to turn the blind eye on it For every student that overdose or gets caught drinking and driving or dies in a DWI accident there should be a mandated auditorium SCHOOL acknowledgement and prayer for the family that is grieving ( Yes I said PRAYER) students have to attend and physically take notice how many times they are attending something like that MAYBE it will teach these kids to speak up sooner ,make a drop box ,Where is the DARE program? Who is running it ? why isn’t this the big talk at the meetings ? What has sachem done to help ? tell me ! .
Tracey January 24, 2013 at 06:52 PM
Concerned , Stop pointing the finger , I know of many good parents that have good hearts and morals and their children got caught up in the sick world of drugs , It takes a Village not just the parent , - If your neighbors are having parties and disrespecting your property then call the cops They will stop it . Have the cops tell them to clean it up Trust me THEY will do their jobs , Kids under age drinking? You never did huh? Cool parents ? You sure they were home ? How sure? You seem like the Me factor Not the helper Just the my lawn type Gezz


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