Nassau County Assistant District Attorney Teri Corrigan is sending a clear message to those engaged in drug-related activity- the penalties for doing so will just keep getting harsher.
Corrigan was the featured speaker at Tuesday's Drig Free Long Island meeting, and she gave a presentation to the audience regarding updated anti-drug and drinking laws designed especially to keep kids safe.
Corrigan first covered various Social Host Laws, which govern the degree of responsibility a homeowner holds if their children hold a party where alcohol and/or drugs are present.
The law affects anyone age 18 and older, who owns, rents, or otherwise controls a private residence and who knows that alcoholic beverages are being consumed by people under the age of 21 on the premises.
"It's a crime," Corrigan said. "The first arrest is a fine and a criminal conviction; second time around, the fine goes up; third time around and we've pretty much had enough of you...if you haven't learned your lesson by the third time, the fine goes up to $1000 and you get up to one year in jail."
Another law Corrigan discussed was called Judicial Diversion, which is basically grants a "second chance" to addicts who have been arrested.
"If he or she is truly an addict, and if their arrest is a result of their addiction, Judicial Diversion, a new law that is out there, has been created to help," she said.
"When Judicial Diversion is applied correctly, there's nothing better. The person is put through drug treatment, and then they sign a contract, saying to the court that they will adhere to their rehab and stay out of trouble. If they stick with it, the arrest is expunged from their record."
Corrigan wrapped up her presentation by giving overall arrest figures in Nassau County for various types of drugs. Leading the pack in arrests this past year were both heroin and opiates.
Another speaker was Lisa Kessler, Clinical Director at Central Nassau Guidance and Counseling, who gave a lecture covering the whole spectrum of addiction where children and teens are concerned.
Keeping our kids clean is especially vital through their early, formative teenage years, as their constantly shifting hormones and body chemistry leave teens especially susceptible to drug addiction, Kessler said.
"If we can tackle the drug problem from every level, and get more people involved, like Drug-Free Massapequa,” she said. “These are the things that are really important.”
Kessler also went over her organization and how they help recovering addicts.
At the end of the meeting, Janice Talento announced her organization's need for volunteers to help out with a good cause. For members of the community that are willing to donate their time, the following non-paid positions are available:
- Bookkeeper (2-4 hours a week)
- Admin Assistant (2-4 hours a week)
- Event Planner
- Advisory Board Members
Interested parties should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.