September 2nd, 2021 –Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter, Councilman John Cochrane, Jr., Councilwoman Mary Kate Mullen, and advocates throughout the community came together Wednesday to kick off the third annual month-long Islip Goes Purple campaign to raise awareness of Opioid and Heroin addiction and recovery. During the month of September, the Islip Town Hall Cupola will be aglow in the color purple, while merchants, businesses, and residents will use purple lights, lawn signs and purple bows to show their support for those in the community who are struggling or know someone who is struggling with addiction, or who have lost a loved one to addiction.
“The year 2020 saw the highest spike of overdoses since 2017. In 2019, Islip Goes Purple was launched to signify the Town’s continued commitment to the memory of the lives lost, those in recovery and the Islip families affected by the Opioid/Heroin crisis,” said Supervisor Angie Carpenter. “Islip has been at the forefront of the Opioid and Heroin crisis, forming the Opioid Task Force in 2018 to address the issue,” she added.
In 2020, the number of fatal overdoses in Suffolk County went up 12%. In March of 2020 when the pandemic began, fatal overdoses rose 43% in the first 4-week period, and non-fatal overdoses rose 19%. Contributing factors to the spike included COVID related lockdown protocols that caused isolation; job insecurity; and other uncertainties which have a negative impact on mental health.
“The many uncertainties brought about by the pandemic saw the largest jump of overdoses and Narcan saves since 2017. While we may have taken a step back in the fight against the Opioid epidemic, we remain resilient as a community in our continued fight against the Opioid/Heroin epidemic,” said Supervisor Carpenter.
During the 2021 Islip Goes Purple kick-off, Islip families shared their stories of personal struggles, successes and of lives lost.
Kathy Koenigsdorf shared a touching tribute of her son Jake, who passed away in 2013 from a Heroin overdose. Kathy founded the Jake K. Foundation later that same year, and has been dedicated to breaking the stigma associated with addiction, and to helping Heroin and Opioid users find recovery. More information on the Jake K. Foundation can be found on their website: https://jakekfoundation.com/.
Drew Scott, co-chair of the Town of Islip Opioid Task Force shared a touching tribute to his granddaughter Hallie, who lost her life from an overdose in 2017. A young woman named Kristen shared a powerful message of hope, that despite the depth of one’s personal struggle, recovery is within reach.
Councilwoman Mary Kate Mullen, Islip Town Board Liaison to the Town of Islip Opioid/Heroin Task Force and MaryAnn Pfeiffer, Executive Director, YES and Co-Chair of the Town of Islip Opioid/Heroin Task Force expressed their gratitude to the countless organizations from Islip to Bayport/Blue Point that continue to support Islip Goes Purple and the families touched by addiction.
“I want to thank everyone who helped make this possible,” said MaryAnn Pfeiffer. “From local hospitals, the staff of YES and the Town of Islip, the many community civics and chamber organizations and businesses, who without this collaboration, Islip Goes Purple wouldn’t be possible,” she added.
Supervisor Carpenter and speakers from the Islip Goes Purple event flipped a ceremonial switch, illuminating the Cupola in purple for the month of September.
For more information on Islip Goes Purple and the many events planned throughout the month of September, please visit https://www.islipgoespurple.com/.