Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

Non-Fatal Opioid Overdoses Drop In Nassau County For First Time In 5 Years

August 01, 2018 - 12:28 pm

VALLEY STREAM, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- The fight against the opioid problem in Nassau County is working.

For the first time in the past five years, the county saw a drop in non-fatal overdoses.

"So far, year to date in Nassau County, we are down 30 percent in non-fatal overdoses, we are down 11 percent in heroin overdoses," said Police Commissioner Patrick  Ryder. "This is the first decline we've seen in five years. Five years it's always been climbing that ladder now we're starting to climb down."

Ryder believes the drop is because of Operation Natalie, named after Natalie Ciappa who died of an overdose in 2008.

The program, which started Jan. 1, focuses on communities where there are a lot of overdoses and car break-ins. Ryder said the two go hand-in-hand as users are searching for money to buy drugs. Authorities help those addicted get into programs and then they continue to check on them. They also arrest the dealers.

"We're making a difference every single day," Ryder said. "This program -- Operation Natalie -- is making a difference and it's going to continue to make a difference as we go forward."

Ryder also said ODMap, which alerts police and health officials to overdoses using real-time data and mapping, has been a vital tool in the fight against opioids.