Growing heroin epidemic on Long Island stealing young lives at alarming rate

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – Jordan Medoff was one month shy of his 24th birthday when he overdosed on heroin.  His mother found him on the bathroom floor of their home just five months ago. 

For Jordan’s sister, who was crowned Miss Long Island just three weeks before her brother’s death, the phone call in September was one she will never forget.

I get a call from my mom at about midnight that Jordan relapsed and he overdosed and they’re on their way to the emergency room,” said Michelle Medoff. 

The Meddoff family’s story unfortunately mirrored hundreds of others on Long Island.  Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds with the Long Island Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence said in his 24 years in public health, he has never seen drug addiction numbers this bad.

Growing heroin epidemic on Long Island stealing young lives at alarming rate

Jordan Medoff was just a few weeks shy of his 24th birthday when he overdosed.

If you look at the overdose statistics on Long Island, they’ve continued to climb. At this point in Long Island we lose one person per day to a fatal overdose,” said Reynolds.  A dangerous new type of heroin, cut with the drug fentanyl, has been taking lives in New York and across the United States.  Fentanyl, an opiate taken by cancer patients, brings down the price but boosts the potency of the drug.  On the street it is called “Bud Ice” or “Theraflu.”

According to reports, the heroin found in actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s apartment bore the name “Ace of Spades” and “Ace of Hearts” — both types of heroin often laced with fentanyl.

While the focus now is on circumstances of Hoffman’s death, CDC statistics paint a much broader heroin problem.

Between 2007 and 2012 the number of users in the country has doubled from 373,000 to 669,000, and the rates of drug overdose deaths has quintupled since 1990.