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Somers' Lou Christiansen, Co-Founder Of Drug Abuse Awareness Group, Dies

Photo Credit: Contributed

SOMERS, N.Y. -- Louis Hammershaimb Christiansen Jr., a Somers resident and co-founder of the drug abuse awareness group Drug Crisis in Our Backyard , died of brain cancer on Jan. 4.

The group serves Northern Westchester and Putnam, bringing awareness to the region's heroin addiction epidemic.

Christiansen and his wife Carol co-founded the nonprofit organization Drug Crisis in Our Backyard with Susan and Steven Salomone in 2012, after both couples lost their sons to drug overdoses two weeks apart, said Putnbam County Executive Mary Ellen Odell.

"At a time where many would be privately mourning, Lou, Carol, Susan and Steven worked tirelessly to make the community aware of the substance abuse epidemic in Putnam and Northern Westchester," she said. "Lou was an inspiration to us all. He was open, honest and courageous."

Christiansen's son, Erik, a New York City Police detective, died in 2012 and had an addiction to prescription painkillers, his wife Carol recalled at an October forum in Somers.

The Christiansens co-founded the group with Carmel residents Susan and Steven Salomone, who also lost their son, Justin, in 2012.

Christiansen was a Vietnam veteran, a retired NYC police officer assigned to the Bronx Task Force an elite squad of 100 men, a contractor and a Somers Lion.

He is survived by his wife Carol and daughter Karina.

Calling hours will be held at Clark Funeral Home in Yorktown Heights on Wednesday, Jan. 7 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. A mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Patrick's Church in Yorktown on Thursday, Jan. 8 at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at St. Michael's Cemetery in East Elmhurst.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Drug Crisis in Our Backyard www.drugcrisisinourbackyard.com .

Alesha Hanson also contributed to this report.

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