2017-05-18 / Other News

Battling Opioid Addiction

By Jason Linetsky


Sal Florio, division director for Coney Island Hospital’s Treatment, Rehabilitation and Relapse program. Sal Florio, division director for Coney Island Hospital’s Treatment, Rehabilitation and Relapse program. A few months after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an annual contribution of $38 million to reduce the opioid epidemic across the city and lower the overdose death rate by 35 percent, the Marine Park Civic Association (MPCA) presented leaders of rehabilitation programs to speak at the civic’s meeting Tuesday night.

Speakers included Sal Florio, division director of Coney Island Hospital’s Treatment, Rehabilitation and Relapse program; Dynamic Youth Community’s Rebecca Realmuto; Ronni Katz, director of the Children’s Aid Society’s NYC Prevention Resource Center; and the NYPD’s Community Affairs Bureau Detective Elmore. Joseph Auerbach, public affairs officer for the Flatlands Volunteer Ambulance Corps, also chimed in with local information of overdose cases.


Ronni Katz, director of the Children’s Aid Society’s NYC Prevention Resource Center. Ronni Katz, director of the Children’s Aid Society’s NYC Prevention Resource Center. As longtime participants in their respective rehab programs, Florio and Katz told their stories then called up other members to tell theirs.

“We’re not going to arrest our way out of this problem,” stated Katz. “People are dying. People are overdosing. In 2014, there were 47,000 people who died in this country from overdosing. You need resources to stop people from dying of overdoses. Go to our site, www.childrensaidsociety.org/prevention resource-center, for information on our programs and other programs out there. We have information on many topics to help stop drug addiction.”

Katz also mentioned the Society’s Strategic Prevention Framework, which has five stages to follow and focuses on a more community-wide initiative:

Assessment - Profile population needs, resources and readiness to address needs and gaps.

Capacity Building - Mobilize and/or build capacity to address needs.

Strategic Planning - Develop a comprehensive strategic plan.

Implementation - Implement evidence-based prevention programs, policies and practices.

Evaluation - Monitor, evaluate, sustain and improve or replace failing entities or systems.

Katz also urged everyone to educate children and teens about the effects of marijuana use and the chances of moving to stronger drugs such as cocaine and heroin, “Many people say smoking weed won’t get them addicted to other drugs. They say it’s not a gateway drug. But it is. Do all people who smoke weed try harder drugs? No. But, one in nine people who smoke weed go on to try other drugs like heroin. It is a gateway drug.”

In addition to the Children’s Aid Society site, you can call 212-949- 4800 for more information about their drug addiction programs and other programs available.

The final meeting of the MPCA’s business year will be on Tuesday, June 20th at 7:30 p.m. at the Carmine Carro Community Center, located at 3000 Fillmore Avenue, between Madison Place and Marine Parkway. For more information, go to www.marineparkcivic.com or call 718-336-7343.

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