Who is an addict? When asked that question, do you automatically picture the news broadcasts of the Reagan administration: minorities in the gutter, crack pipes in hand? Do you see Wolf of Wallstreet-esque business men snorting assorted powders off their desks? Are you imagining a white suburban twenty-year-old with a needle in their arm? All of these ideas of who an addict is are just as correct as they are diverse.
Addiction doesn’t see race. Addiction doesn’t see age. Addiction doesn’t see income. Addiction no longer discriminates and has been afflicting people of all demographics in the U.S. The citizens of Long Island are experiencing this first-hand as many struggle with opioid abuse.
From Hempstead to Montauk, the whole of Long Island is being affected. Suffolk County alone accounts for the highest percentage of overdose deaths in New York. Our communities have had to grieve too many lives and will continue to do so if we don’t put our differences aside and come together to take on the opioid epidemic.
Long Islanders have been creating coalitions between citizens, law enforcement, and physicians to combat the opioid abuse that has been running rampant and wreaking havoc in our communities. Our government has recognized Long Island’s need for drug treatment resources as well, providing funding and creating outreach and treatment programs that can be available for anyone looking for help.
Although addiction doesn’t discriminate and has been plaguing almost every population, there is good news: Recovery doesn’t discriminate either. Rich, poor, black, white, Latino, Asian, young, old – it doesn’t matter, drug treatment is being made available to all. If you or someone you know are suffering from opioid abuse, the help is there and easier to find than ever before.