Update: An around-the-clock hotline for those struggling with heroin or opiate dependency in Suffolk County and looking for help goes live Friday, April 1.
The number was just released to the public this week.
Here’s the number: 631-979-1700
Original story: Calling it another tool in a growing arsenal to combat opiate and heroin addiction in Suffolk County — where overdose deaths have nearly tripled since 2010 — officials announced the impending launch of a 24/7 hotline for those seeking care.
The hotline will be up and operating this April.
“This initiative will provide opportunity for addicts to reach out during their time off need and access treatment and support options easily,” said county Legislator William Spencer of Centerport, who is a medical doctor. “Often, there is a critical and brief period of time when a person sees clarity and makes the decision to seek help.
“This hotline can be fertile ground for change and recovery as it can quickly link residents to crucial healthcare services.”
Deaths in Suffolk County have jumped from 38 in 2010 to 108 in 2014, according to a January report in The Suffolk Times, with has resulted in a recent push to make overdose-reversing drug Narcan more readily available.
The 24-hour hotline to provide screenings, referrals and follow ups for those seeking assistance with substance abuse will be run by the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, a nonprofit group.
The county health department will provide oversight and analyze data, county officials said.
That data will be used not only to monitor the hotline’s effectiveness, but to identify trends and emerging issues in the community.
“We need to tackle this epidemic on all fronts, including prevention, treatment and law enforcement,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said at press event last week announcing the new hotline, which was made possible in part through the work of Stony Brook University Hospital researchers and state funding programs.
The phone number has not yet been released.
Photo: A payphone outside 7-Eleven on Hospital Road near Sunrise Highway. (file photo)