As the heroin epidemic creeps across Long Island, Massapequa continues to see the needle and the damage done.
A ninth-grade social studies teacher at Massapequa High School’s Ames Campus was arrested recently and now faces drug charges after she was found in possession of heroin during a traffic stop in Freeport, police said.
According to authorities, Kerri Creegan, 33, was driving on Babylon Turnpike in Freeport at about 3 p.m. Wednesday when her car was stopped with defective taillight. After an investigation, police said they found a bag containing heroin and Creegan was arrested without incident.
This incident comes at a time when opiate-related overdoses are becoming more and more prevelant throughout Long Island and the state at large — and the numbers show that it is a growing problem in Massapequa. Nassau County data shows that through May, Massapequa, Massapequa Park and North Massapequa had a total of 26 non-fatal opiate overdoses and six overdoses that proved fatal.
The Massapequa School District confirmed it received a call from police regarding Creegan’s arrest, but could not comment further.
“The district received a call from the Nassau County Police Department late Wednesday regarding this arrest,” the Massapequa school district said in a statement. “As this is a personnel matter and an active investigation, we cannot comment further at this time. We will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in all aspects regarding this incident.”
The teacher was charged with a misdemeanor seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and given a desk appearance ticket for June 23.
Parents in Massapequa said that while there is concern about a local teacher being found in possession of heroin, it is not in the community’s best interest to vilify the young woman.
“I feel sorry for her. I don’t have the attitude that a lot of parents on social media have right now, calling for her head and saying she should never teach again,” said Kristen Ferrari, a mother of three. “I wish people would look at this as an opportunity to teach young people that addiction can happen to anyone.”
Ferrari said she knows some young people who have already been in and out of rehab a few times. She believes this is a societal problem that goes well beyond Massapequa borders.
“It is so sad to see these young kids like this. These are nice kids, they aren’t bad kids,” she said. “There needs to be a focus on treatment. And we have to figure out what we can do to educate young kids and give them the tools they need to cope with problems in healthy ways and not with drugs.
Diana Hibbard LoCascio, a Massapequa parent with two boys, said she believes the Massapequa School District will take responsible actions in regards to the teacher recently arrested.
“I imagine she will not be back in the school teaching children until she gets the treatment she needs,” said LoCascio, adding that more than anything, she was saddened by the news. “This is a young woman who worked so hard in her college years, got a job teaching and has a purpose in life. She made a mistake. It is something you hope wouldn’t happen, but now the concern is that she gets help.”