One company, the Sackler family’s Purdue Pharma, has played a critical role in instigating an epidemic of opioid addiction in the United States that killed 72,000 Americans last year — more people than perished at the peak of the HIV epidemic or died in car wrecks or shootings last year.
Even now — as the failure to recognize opioid addiction as a chronic disease rather than a moral failing, and limits on insurance coverage keep people from long-term treatment — the painkiller industry is spending nine times more on lobbying to fight regulation than is spent by the powerful gun lobby. READ
Most know the game of “Telephone”: Children sit in a circle, one whispers a phrase into another’s ear, then that person whispers it to the next, and so on. The phrase travels around the circle, a hand cupped over one ear at a time.
Then the phrase returns to the first child, who usually disintegrates into giggles at the nonsense of a recycled sentence mangled by misinterpretation. READ
When Kirstin Elizabeth Zabel was born in December 1986, her parents, Donald and Claudia, brought her home to Cartwright Road on Shelter Island. Thirty-one years later she was buried in the cemetery at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church.
When friends and family describe how Kirstin lived, they speak of how she protected the people she loved, of her artistic flair and her enjoyment of classical music. She loved horses, dogs and cats, cooking, travel and Shelter Island. But Kirstin had only three decades to live a whole life, because in her teens she learned to love drugs as well. READ
An iconic image from the mid-1980s came from a group of New York City artists, who had “gathered over several months to provide support for one another in the face of AIDS,” as the Village Voice noted, and decided to make a poster “to address the epidemic then decimating their world.” It featured a pink triangle — a symbol of gay pride reclaimed from the Nazis — and a simple, powerful message: “Silence = Death.” READ
At a candlelight vigil at Good Ground Park in Hampton Bays Saturday, those affected by the opioid epidemic gathered to share stories of the loved ones they’ve lost, their own struggles with addiction and the effect of an ongoing crisis.
These are their stories. READ
How do we, as a community, begin to address the very real mental health disorders — acute and chronic episodes of anxiety and depression, and addiction — of our youth? How do we, as school and community leaders, ask and answer the right questions in grappling with the day-to-day mental and behavioral health issues our youth experience? How do we develop the strategies demanded by the moving target of increased suicidal thoughts, actions and self-harm events — including substance use in an effort to stop emotional pain? READ
In late January 2016, The Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review published an in-depth look at the growing heroin epidemic on the North Fork. The article told the story of Paul Maffetone of Laurel, whose brother Michael died at age 29, and his efforts to raise awareness about the troubling expansion in abuse of heroin and opioid drugs. READ
Eastern Long Island’s weekly newspapers have joined together to form the East End News Project for the purpose of reporting and writing stories about one of the most important issues of the day: opioid abuse and overdose deaths in our communities. READ