There are probably very few people on the East End who haven’t been touched by the opioid addiction crisis that has swept the nation and taken root in our own communities. Addiction to opioids, whether in the form of heroin, fentanyl or prescription pills, has had an impact on every demographic and knows no socio-economic bounds. In 2017 alone, about 400 residents of Suffolk County — including dozens on the East End — died from overdoses, with the reported numbers most likely lower than the reality of this insidious problem.
On Saturday, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Good Ground Park in Hampton Bays, people will gather to remember those who lost their battle to addiction. The candlelight vigil, organized by the Southampton Town Opioid Addiction Task Force, will offer residents an opportunity to share their own experiences, or simply stand in quiet solidarity with family and neighbors.
It can also be a moment where the East End comes together to let those facing addiction, and their families, know that they are not alone, to push away the stigma that prevents people from seeking help for themselves or their loved ones. It is also a moment when we can acknowledge as a community that this is a real problem we are facing and one we are finally willing to tackle head on.