Policy

Children Stare with Heroin Eyes

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Legislators in Suffolk County, New York, have passed a bill

greenjunkie

that creates a Web site to show heroin-related arrests by location, frequency and the age of the culprits.

The bill, dubbed "Natalie's Law" after Massapequa teenager Natalie Ciappa, who died from a heroin overdose in June, passed 17-1, a day after Nassau's legislature approved a similar law that also requires police to notify school districts of heroin arrests.

Ciappa's father, Victor Ciappa, said he never knew the extent of heroin use among teenagers on Long Island until his daughter's death. "We can't stand by and watch another kid die," he said at a news conference before the vote.

Legis. Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon), the bill's sponsor, called heroin "a scourge" that "seems to have caught people by surprise." He urged residents to read the county's heroin Web site once it is created.

A website that tells everyone where the drug cops have been active? What could possibly go wrong with that?

The lone dissenter, Legis. Thomas Barraga (R-West Islip), said broadcasting the location of heroin busts will be more useful to drug dealers and users than to parents hoping to protect their children.

"It's basically, from my perspective, a feel-good bill," Barraga said. "That's fine. Some people have to feel that way."