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Northport Teen Substance Abuse “Hot Spot" Addressed

Northport School grounds and area teen drug and alcohol hot spots targeted!

The drug and alcohol abuse among young teenagers in Northport has long been a problem. It is not new, nor is it new to the Northport’s William J. Brosnan School grounds adjacent to the local CVS drug store and directly across from the Northport Library.

When 30 and 40 year old residents who grew up here were interviewed, many knew of this area and stated that the school district did as well. Through the years and presently the properties where the school playground and CVS join has remained an active site for teens to gather with cover of foliage and a brick wall. Drug and alcohol abuse has been consistent for years said property neighbors who wish to remain unnamed.

In late September, prior to the high school homecoming football game, a large group of young teens were witnessed smoking what obviously smelt of pot on these grounds. That night an older man (perhaps in his mid to late 20’s) was witnessed buying medicine at the drug store adjacent to these grounds. When he left the store he walked directly into woods were the kids were hanging out. While this proves nothing except that he took a walk with medicine into the woods, it is not hard to guess what was transpiring.

Over the past several months groups of kids have been seen in this activity almost daily by locals. Lately, it has been noted that kids as young as 12 and 13 have been approaching the older teens in these groups. Recently there was a young man living in these woods and allegedly involved with drug use who had to be removed. This should be frightening to parents and officials alike.

Given what has been happening on these grounds for decades with little “effective” action from the school district or Northport Police Department, it has become clear why people do not come forward when they witness these activities. The local families and businesses have stated that they fear retribution from these kids if they are reported. Interviews with local residents and businesses adjacent to these properties confirm this. When the school repairs the fence separating the property from the CVS property, the kids tear it down again.

Last March CVS met with the Task Force and agreed to fence off and cut out the shrubs and vegetation in their property area the kids were using and had it done within one week. The school district then rolled out some old fencing to block off the long time opening in the fence, but this was immediately ripped down by the brazen teenagers who wished to use these properties for their own ends.  Why effective monitoring by the school security, the drug store, and local police has not been implemented is a question everyone should ask. 

Abuse and vandalism of these properties should not be tolerated. It has become common place and must be stopped. It is a sad state of affairs when the local residents and businesses are afraid, and the teenage drug users have free run of these grounds, which are right next to the public Library as well.

Members of the Northport East Northport Drug and Alcohol Task Force(NDATF) have periodically inspected these grounds for the past several months. Many pictures were taken of the drug and alcohol abuse paraphernalia littering the area and the vandalism caused by the kids who congregate here. The hope was to develop a collaborative effort from the Northport School District’s administrative leaders, security and grounds management, the Northport Police Department, and local CVS Drugs Store management to meet and find a solution which will secure these grounds from the continued drug and alcohol abuse. I

f a proactive plan can be implemented, it is hoped that many other community members will be inspired to join in the fight to keep our children safe from the dangers of all types of substance abuse. While there is no easy solution, securing this public area where our kids play would be an excellent start and perhaps an example for other local “Hot Spots” to be secured.

Since the end of September, school district, police, and CVS officials have been contacted by the Task Force and agree to meet and discuss working together to make this particular area more secure.  It should be noted that beginning in October, the Northport School District has cleared shrubs and vegetation from much of the property next to the CVS   eliminating any “hidden” activity and making it easier to patrol. They have begun fence repairs as well. This is a terrific start to what should be an ongoing collaborative effort to keep this area and others like it safe for our community to use it for its intended purpose, to benefit our children.

Scott Norcott, Northport Drug and Alcohol Task Force

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Carla October 10, 2012 at 11:11 PM
A noble effort but drug abuse is an issue of individuals not locations. Keeping this area safe, a back alleyway to benefit children ? Keeping it safe infers is that there were crimes against the person at that CVS/School District location. The High School home game at the Brosnan field ? Drug use is not location dependant, its abuser dependant, and resource variable.
Mary Silberstein October 11, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Thank you Scott, The School District, The D&A Task Force and Northport police! A true collaboration if there ever was one!
Scott Norcott October 11, 2012 at 09:31 PM
You are absolutely right about individuals having to battle their drug abuse problems. I do hope you are not infering that 8-12 of them at a time practicing this activity on school grounds, vandalizing the area and giving things to 13 year olds who approach them while on this property is acceptable. The public library is right accross the street. Witnesses have seen young kids walking across from the library with some of these people into said area. The last time I checked drug use and under age drinking is a crime. Dealing drugs is even worse. As a parent, I would not want my kids any where near an area that habituated by teens that practice drug use, underage drinking and vandalism. I doubt if many parents would disagree. This is a school zone. It is supposed to be safe from these practices. If young kids were not exposed to these practices they would be safer. Regarding the high school game, of course it was at the high school. Just stating a witness account prior to the game.
Scott Norcott October 11, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Thanks Mary. This is a work in progress as there are certain perpetraters who continue to vandalize the are and leave there alcohol and drug abuse "calling cards". Looking forward to meeting with the police, district and CVS upper management.
Thunder Buddies October 12, 2012 at 11:11 PM
It is great that the press has covered this. This news sparked a conversation with my 8th grader and me. She avoids walking through that area "because of glass and garbage" but we discussed the drinking and drug activity. I feel a little clueless - but if there are these hot spots around town, can you make them known so we can keep an eye and ear out for our kids?
Mary Silberstein October 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM
There are hot spots elsewhere in Northport but it takes people in the community to identify them if they see drug and alcohol use or sales going on and to let the police know if they are witnessing a crime. It is wonderful that this sparked a conversation as that conversation you had is key. Did you know that many addicts started their drug and alcohol abuse at age 11 and in their parents own home? Think about how easy it is to find alcohol and prescription medicine and tobacco and for some family homes, pot.
Carla October 13, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Mary is spot on here. Rule of "C": Community concerned citizens call constantly, consistantly, continually. Camera's by commercial concerns or concerned citizens of individuals identified in the act of trespass or illegal activity. Cuff Confine and/or Call parents as a result of Cohesive Community Calls to police and school security. It takes a caring village to correct "hot spots" and wayward children.
Scott Norcott October 13, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Absolutely true. Thank you all for your contributions. As a community we need to support each other and groups like the Northport East Northport Drug and Alcohol Task force in an on going effort. Phone calls the schools, police and establishments should be made when crimes are seen being commited. There will also be on going posts on the the Patch and on the Northport East Northport Drug and Alcohol Task Force Facebook. Like it to recieve posts.
Scott Norcott October 13, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Will get back to you with that infio soon!
resident October 15, 2012 at 03:55 PM
I have witnessed drug dealing going on in the court across from the school parking lot on Laurel Hill Road. WHY does the school not know about this or do anything about it??????? And how about all of the parents that are supplying alcohol to kids at parties??????? I could write a list of who I know. WE THE PARENTS are the problem if we do not do anything about this.
Scott Norcott October 16, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Resident - Your concern is that of many. We at the Northport East Northport Drug and Alcohol Task Force are attempting to address local "Hot Spots" as well as how parents and kids alike deal with the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Regarding your account of drug dealing going on at the court accross from the high school, it could be addressed at one of the school meetings. I invite you to attend our next (Task Force) meeting in November where there are a number of people who might have viable suggestions. Like and follow our facebook page as well. Contact the head of school administration with your concerns and witness accounts, and of course the police. If there are no "official" complaints, there will be no action.
Thunder Buddies October 19, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Can you blog on Patch and/or report in the newspaper on a regular basis and name some hot spots? It would be great to have a finger on the pulse of where to NOT let your teenager hang out!
Scott Norcott October 19, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Yes we can. We are preparing some information about this and other important statistics about local teen substance abuse that may be unsettling to parents. While we are looking to secure this one area for a start because it has been so active, please remember that fighting teen substance abuse is not just about geography. Communication with your teen from an early age, and installing a strong sense of right and wrong will go much further than controlling where they go. We have much information on this and we invite you to attend one of our Task force meetings and or like our facebook page where more information will be posted. We will continue to post on the Patch as well.
Freelancelot October 26, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Man. This world is getting crazier and crazier. A CVS next to a park, and some guy selling prescription drugs? to kids in the park? That enrages me. Where are the parents? It is sad that we can't even let our kids play at the park anymore! And this website shows just how creative kids are getting at hiding their drugs when they come home from the park! --> http://www.testcountry.com/infographics/where-kids-hide-drugs-infographics.html
Mary Silberstein October 27, 2012 at 04:20 AM
It is not someone selling Rx drugs to kids but kids getting Rx drugs from the medicine cabinets in their homes. Rx drugs need to be kept away from our medicine cabinets. And we need to dispose of them properly. It is also not kids playing in parks but kids using drugs where they think they can get away with it. Both has been happening for YEARS!
Mary Silberstein October 27, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Kids are getting drugs from their parents without parents knowing it!
Scott Norcott October 27, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Thanks to all for your input! While we are working on the active drug and alcohol abuse areas, we are hoping that as a communty, parents take a more active role and stay involved with their kids. Statistics show alcohol and drug use by young teens in the Northport area at over 80%. If you have 2 teens at 15 or over, it is likey that 1 of them is using! Food for thought folks and these stats are real from an independent study group who conducted a survey last year. More info to come.....

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