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Alliance Explores Critical Issues Facing Youth.

Smithtown Youth Bureau Executive Director Patsy Hirschhorn and Director of Drug and Alcohol Services for Horizons of Smithtown Elaine Economopoulos head up the Youth and Community Alliance of Smithtown.  The group has gathered monthly since 2007 at the Mary DeRose Parent Center in Kings Park.

 “It was started for the purpose of raising awareness of youth substance abuse and to enlist leaders from throughout the town to come together and develop strategies and activities to reduce underage drinking and other substance through reducing risks and boosting protective factors in our adolescents,” said Hirschhorn.

On Friday the 14th about twenty members showed up for the first meeting of the year.  Participants also included representatives and administrators from Smithtown, Commack, Hauppauge and Kings Park school districts including members of respective substance abuse prevention groups like Commack Coalition for Caring and Kings Park in the kNOw

Kings Park Central School District Superintendant Dr. Susan Agruso has been a regular attendee of the Alliance and partook in last week’s meeting where she discussed the implementation of the HealthSmart program in Kings Park schools. 

Clergy members from throughout Smithtown, the League of Women’s Voters and members of the prevention and addiction community are also actively involved with Alliance.  In addition, local and state law makers Legislator Lynne C. Nowick, Senator John J. Flanagan, Assemblyman Michael J. Fitzpatrick and Congressman Steve Israel’s presence have been a staple at the roundtable discussion. 

“The Youth and Community Alliance of Smithtown consists of a broad-based coalition of community members who bring a wealth of knowledge and support to the Alliance.  I wholeheartedly support their efforts to reduce underage drinking and drug abuse and to address issues that affect the youth, our future leaders in the Town of Smithtown,” said Nowick. 

Nowick has been instrumental in drafting and co-sponsoring several pieces of legislation to ensure the safety of the county’s youth such as a local law to prohibit the sale of cough/cold medicine containing DXM to children under 19 and a law banning the sale and possession of Salvia Divinorium (a hallucinogenic herb).  She cosponsored legislation to create the Heroin Opiate Epidemic Advisory Panel who’s recently released 53 page report takes a hard look at the county’s devastating newest drug epidemic and presents concrete solutions to address it. Nowick also played a critical role in the creation of the Heroin Mapping Index in Suffolk and has orchestrated the collected of unused prescription medicines in Kings Park and at Stony Brook University Medical Center.      

The next Alliance meeting will be held on February 11th at the Mary DeRose Parent Resource Center in the old San Remo Elementary building located at 180 Lawrence Road.  For more information contact Patsy Hirschhorn at phirschhorn@tosgov.com  or call:  360.7595

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