Timetable: Forecasting Improvements in Addiction Treatment
The fact that Long Island is in the midst of a full-scale drug and alcohol addiction epidemic is not in question, nor is the fact the problem requires widespread institutional intervention at all levels. Each year, hundreds of Long Island residents succumb to heroin or prescription opioid overdose, while many more are taken by synthetic marijuana, or alcohol-related fatality. While law enforcement, prevention advocates and leaders at every level are starting to mobilize to do their part in curbing abuse in their communities, the reality is that progress takes time and there are thousands of vulnerable Long Island residents that simply can’t afford to wait.
Whether it’s organizing an awareness event, authoring new legislation to increase treatment and overdose prevention resources, or simply starting a conversation among your friends and family, we all have our roles to play in curbing substance abuse. In an area that has been so heavily plagued by this pervasive public health epidemic, it’s literally all hands on deck. Governor Cuomo recently signed a potentially impactful legislative package. But these changes are likely to occur incrementally and leave addicts more vulnerable in the meantime. This is why it’s important that communities as well as lawmakers adopt an attitude of proactive change.
If we’re unsure of how to help, we can reach out to local leaders and see what initiatives are being undertaken to spread awareness. We can work with them to organize events of their own or volunteer at previously scheduled rallies or gatherings. The bottom is that we simply can’t afford to wait for change to come at the official when we have such abundant power to affect change around us. Our chances of helping others who vulnerable to substance are greatly improved when we empower and educate themselves regarding the disease of addiction and what we can do to curb it in our communities.