Crisis of Health
The Village of Sag Harbor is in the throes of a public health crisis, not unlike thousands of other communities across the country and alarmingly at a rate that far exceeds many. The crisis is substance abuse amongst our youth.
Why? What about life in Sag Harbor has brought us to this point? Can we do a better job of protecting our youth and allow them to live out their natural lives?
The history of drug prevention and intervention shows good intentions hampered by a failure to understand that substance abuse is a complex health issue arising for a myriad of social, emotional, and physiological issues that drag susceptible youth into the spiral of addiction.
At one time, substance abuse was seen as a moral failing and the person was shunned or even worse, jailed. That did not work. Then there were the “Just Say No” campaign and the DARE program. These programs had dedicated people delivering good advice to youth but did not address the root causes of substance abuse.
Today robust community organizations utilizing evidence-based strategies are reducing their level of substance abuse. It has been found when the community comes together by changing local norms it is easier for youth to behave in healthier ways and lower their usage of alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs and other illicit substances.
If you are concerned with what is happening to our young people, please consider supporting the Sag Harbor Coalition, funded by a five-year federal Drug-free Communities Support grant, to identify the root causes of abuse and develop Village specific interventions.
I would like to commend the group of Pierson parents who organized an alcohol free pre-Prom party and the merchants who donated raffle prizes to keep the students at the Prom until the end of the evening. These efforts represent the seeds of change.
We meet on the last Wednesday of every month at Pierson High School. If you cannot commit to the meetings, we are looking for a space to hold small workshops and production assistance with producing our first PSA.
At 2:30 p.m. on June 22 the phone rang. The caller ID had “IMC” in caps. “Who’s that?” I thought. It was from a 631 area code.
When I answered, a man said “Julie?”
“I’m calling for the NRA.” I recoiled exclaiming “Ich.” Then, “How dare—” but he hung up. My revulsion must have hit him like a tidal wave. Had he hung on I would have completed my sentence. “How dare you—Don’t you dare ever call this number again.” And, “How’d you even get my name and number, you creep?”
Yes, I consider the NRA pure evil. After the Sandy Hook bloodbath of little kids, I thought for sure the NRA ghouls would be vanquished; the GOP would free themselves of their gun lobbyists that enrich GOP campaigns. Obviously, they’re addicted to the blood money they provide. Also, fearful of the NRA’s might in destroying political careers. How twisted for the NRA to be calling so soon after the carnage in Orlando.
But maybe it was for that very reason: To check the “Pulse” of the people in its blood-soaked aftermath. Check the public’s resolve to sensibly regulate guns.
This was even before I knew that the Dems were staging an unprecedented sit down protest on the floor of the House wanting a “No Fly, No Gun” safety bill released by House Speaker Ryan for a “yes” or “no” vote. It started, apparently, after the perfunctory “moment of silence” in memory of the slain. Give me a break! Just stop the carnage already, so we don’t have to pray over needless deaths. Lord knows, the GOP has had ample time to do it if they were so inclined. But, they’re not.
Late last night I heard Rep. Lee Zeldin say he had a gun safety bill, yet his conce
rn was with “Due Process” for those who might be erroneously on the “no-fly” list. Okay, so why not have the “No Fly, No guns” Dems and Zeldin and the GOPers come to the pit of the House and hash it all out before the eyes and ears of the public. PRONTO. Let the CDC which has for years refused for medical professionals to present an official study to the CDC that catalogues the full and devastating range of gun-related injuries we’ve been inflicting on each other in this society, commission it now. The depths of such horrific damage must be officially acknowledged.
First off: Let’s ban assault weapons that belong in the military, not amongst civilians and not for shooting Bambi. We had such a ban but President Bush let that ban on assault weapons expire and the body count has sharply risen.
Thanks for the Support
The members of the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps would like to thank everyone who came out to support our proposition on June 21st. Your overwhelming support shows that you are behind our volunteers 100%.
Please have fun but stay safe and healthy this summer!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Deborah M. O’Brien, Vice President
Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc.