Ortiz teams with nonprofit to raise drug abuse awareness

August 14, 2014 Heather Chin
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With concerns growing about prescription drug and heroin use and abuse by southwest Brooklyn youths, Assemblymember Felix Ortiz has teamed up with the nonprofit Foundation for a Drug-Free World (FDFW) to provide free drug-prevention and drug-awareness lessons to students across Sunset Park.

“For several months, domestic violence, drug use and heroin abuse have been an issue in Sunset Park and the Brooklyn and Asian communities,” said Ortiz. “So how do we bring access to resources and awareness of that in a way that is sensitive to non-English-speaking communities?

“That is why, working with Dr. Bernard Fialkoff, we will bring these materials to schools and senior centers,” Ortiz said.

Fialkoff is a Queens dentist and founding sponsor of the FDFW, which created a formal curriculum of 18 lessons and a Teacher’s Guide, as well as informational booklets about ecstasy, prescription drugs, crystal meth, marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, inhalants, LSD, painkillers and Ritalin abuse.

Available in 10 languages—including English, Spanish and Chinese, which will be in Ortiz’s office and distributed to local community organizations and participating schools—the materials are free for everyone, said Meghan Fialkoff of FDFW.

“We’re in 20 percent of public schools in New York City so far,” said Fialkoff, who added that the curriculum was created by a committee, some of whom are health professionals. “We just introduce and educate teachers and students about the importance of making goals and what the differences between drugs are and how they affect your emotions, mind and body.”

More information about the program is available at Ortiz’s office, 404 55th Street.

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