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Overdose Deaths Spike On Long Island

Bebeto Matthews

There has been a 40% increase in fatal drug overdoses in Suffolk County, and a 50% increase in Nassau County this year compared to the first half of 2019. 

Advocates say many people try to mask their pandemic-related anxiety, loneliness and grief with drugs and alcohol. 

Law enforcement officials say the pandemic has reduced the illegal drug supply to Long Island, so drug dealers have cut cocaine and heroin with the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl. 

Suffolk County introduced a new drug diversion program last week to connect people with addictions to treatment. 

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.