This letter appeared today March 1st in the East Hampton Press on page A7
Rep. Lee Zeldin writes about his health care goals in the Riverhead Local:
“… here in Suffolk County, our communities and families have been severely impacted by the rise of prescription drug abuse and the growing heroin crisis…”
He has been in office for over 2 years and the drug crisis has worsened dramatically. http://www.newsday.com/opinion/editorial/confronting-the-curse-of-opioids-and-heroin-1.11722083
As reported in April 2016, Suffolk County has the most heroin-related deaths in New York State. http://pix11.com/2016/04/10/suffolk-county-has-most-heroin-related-deaths-in-new-york-state-report-finds/
Rep. Zeldin’s says he will “continue working” on this problem and then proceeds with a list of uninspired old ideas. He says he wants to ”discuss and develop … solutions”.
This is a crisis best handled by drug-use professionals and requires national funding and action, immediately. Zeldin could declare this an emergency (like any medical emergency), he could attract top medical and drug abuse/addiction specialists and work with SUNY Stony Brook, other local hospitals and community centers.
Moreover, our new national government does not believe in institutions like the NIH and CDC and Mr. Zeldin does not seem to voice his concern about this. For example, there were directives freezing communications between NIH and congress: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/memo-freezing-nih-communications-congress-triggers-jitters Note that the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is part of the NIH.
The CDC, notably, will lose 10% of its budget with repeal of the ACA. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/trump-rsquo-s-cdc-may-face-serious-hurdles/
The drug abuse and heroin crisis is a healthcare emergency, as many families in the district know all to well. Rep. Zeldin’s promises to help, ring hollow. His lack of successful action over the last 2 years does not inspire confidence.