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Massapequa Combats Drugs at PTA Meeting

Anti-drug advocates discuss ways to prevent drug abuse.

Members of  local organizations in the fight against drugs  brought their message to parents at Monday night's PTA meeting at Massapequa High School.

Janice Talento and Sharon Sieczkowski, of Drug Free Massapequa, were among those on hand to discuss programs and recent issues.

"Heroin is probably the biggest problem right now," Talento said. " But we have many parents come up to us and say "we'll, at least my son is only smoking pot, or only doing this" What do you mean, "only?"

Talento explained that marijuana can often be laced with other drugs such as heroin, and said that parents and members of the community need to open up about problems in Massapequa.

"Until our community owns up to the fact that this is happening in our community and takes control of our kids...we can hand out nine-thousand fliers," Talento said.  "But each week if we reach out to just one or two parents, then we're doing our job."

Mark Wenzel, of YES Community Counseling Center and  the group Massapequa Takes Action, said that attitudes towards alcohol and marijuana need to change.

"There's the thought that, you know, it's just pot. Or it's just alcohol,"  Wenzel said. "And that's a dangerous attitude - It doesn't start with heroin, it starts with tobacco, it starts with marijuana. "

Wenzel also brought to light the danger of prescription medication and new ways that kids look to get high.

"Prescription pills are being snorted," Wenzel said. "So what is supposed to be a time release capsule is now taken all in one shot, and the impact of that is significant."

"Years ago, it used to be, lock your liquor cabinets," he said. "Today, it's lock your medicine cabinet."

Wenzel said that once kids realize how expensive pills are - he said they can run $40 a pill - they turn to heroin, which he said is being sold for as little as $8 a bag.

"They go from accessibility to having to buy it, realizing its too expensive to buy, then going to the street cheap stuff," he said. 

Despite the recent drug problems in the community, Wenzel is  has hopes for future progress.

"We have made  a lot people aware of a lot of things," he said. "We have the school behind us, but we have to continue to work."

Meanwhile, Drug Free Massapequa has sent out a letter expressing concern about the possibility that Nassau Police are considering  the redeployment of some officers who specialize in community policing known as Problem Oriented Police, or P.O.P. officers.  The organization is encouraging people to attend a hearing on the matter at 10 a.m. at the Nassau County Legislature or to  write to the police commissioners or other elcted officials.

Drug Free Massapequa will hold its general monthly meeting at Marjorie Post Park on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. For more information on YES counseling services, visit http://www.yesccc.org/

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