WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Police are warning residents that heroin use is on the rise in Westchester, and that residents should be on the lookout for signs of heroin use among their loved ones.
"You may think it can't happen to your family, your friends, but the sad truth is it can and it is," said Robert Riley, president of the White Plains Police Benevolent Association, in a video message. He said that parents, teachers and young adults should be aware of their friends' and family members' activities. "Talk to them about the dangers, study them for behavior changes, ask questions, be vigilant."
There have been a number of heroin-related deaths and arrests in Westchester in recent weeks. Police suspect heroin may have played a role in the deaths of a Cortlandt man and a Buchanan man in late January. Police also charged five people with heroin possession last week in Ossining, and two Peekskill men were charged with selling heroin throughout Northern Westchester. A Montrose man was also sentenced to 40 years in prison this month for selling heroin.
Riley said that heroin is one of the toughest addictions to beat because it is so addictive and has a high relapse rate. He warned parents that addiction can start at home through abuse of unused prescription drugs. Many local Police Departments have drop-off boxes for unused prescription drugs, and he urged residents to use them to prevent any prescription drug abuse.
Riley also said that young people should be on the lookout for changes in their friends' behavior, and to talk to them and their parents if they are concerned about possible drug use.
"We know this won't be easy, but it's better to have a friend be angry while they get the help they need, instead of it being too late and they end up in jail, or even worse, dead," Riley said. "Let's remember, if you notice a change in someone, don't be afraid to say something. If we all work together, we believe we may be able to save lives."