Sometimes an issue needs to take root in our own backyard before we can wake up to the reality of the situation. When it comes to the opioid addiction crisis, that has certainly been the case — many families, many friends, and whole communities unable to admit this devastating problem is one without boundaries; no demographic is safe from its clutches.
As the statistics continued to paint a tragic portrait, Southampton Town officials, working with former News 12 anchor Drew Scott, who lost his granddaughter to a drug overdose, formed the Southampton Town Opioid Addiction Task Force — a body committed to studying this issue and bringing awareness and education to its communities, and advocating on behalf of individuals and families caught up in an addiction that is challenging to treat. In addition to forums, the task force on Saturday gathered community members together at Good Ground Park in Hampton Bays for a candlelight vigil. It was a moment to share stories, to shed stigma and to stand in solidarity.
Other towns and villages should look to the model created by Southampton Town and consider similar task forces that could ideally pool efforts into a regional movement that demands better healthcare and treatment options and that could lobby for greater resources. Saturday’s event highlighted that this is a problem plaguing both forks, and it is time for everyone to work together to provide some relief.