September 2nd, 2022 – Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter was joined by members of the Islip Town Board, and elected officials on the Federal, State, County and local levels for the 4th annual "Islip Goes Purple" event held Thursday, September 1st at Town Hall.
"Islip Goes Purple symbolizes our continued commitment to stand together, UNITED in memory of the lives lost, those in recovery, those struggling, and the families throughout the Town of Islip suffering from mental illness, struggling with mental health, and those affected by a substance use disorder…and it does not discriminate, it can affect anyone, regardless of economic or social status," said Islip Supervisor, Angie Carpenter.
The Town of Islip has been steadfast, forming the Town of Islip Substance Abuse/Opioid Task Force in 2018, before COVID. Sixty percent of young people in community-based addiction treatment programs meet the diagnostic criteria for another mental illness. Most behavioral health professionals believe the numbers of people struggling with a simultaneous mental illness and substance use disorder to be even higher, especially post-COVID-19, when anxiety and depression skyrocketed, drug and alcohol use soared, and fatal overdoses jumped 30%.
"Thankfully, fatalities are coming down, in part due to the widespread distribution of testing strips, along with expanded treatment. Enhanced efforts have saved countless lives, but we are still losing 300 Americans per day, or about 12 people every hour to overdose," said Supervisor Carpenter.
For the last three years, Islip community members, business owners and community partners have been pivotal in the success of Islip Goes Purple, which is one way residents can come together as a community. This effort has grown throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties, with Brookhaven, Babylon and Huntington Townships following the Town of Islip and lighting their communities purple, along with Massapequa Park in the Town of Oyster Bay.
"Having elected officials from the Federal, State, and County levels joining us here today is testament to the fact that substance use disorder, mental illness and caring for one’s own mental health are paramount issues at the forefront of what we as elected officials must be prepared to address and tackle," added the Supervisor.
Speaking to this important issue were: Congressman Andrew Garbarino; Dr. Louis Teitelbaum, Good Samaritan Hospital a member of Catholic Health; Mike Scarpelli, Director, South Oaks Hospital, a part of Northwell Health; Cassidy Shultz, Client, Outreach; MaryAnn Pfeiffer, Executive Director of YES-Youth Enrichment Services, who plays a pivotal role in the success of Islip Goes Purple, and is co-chair of the Town’s Substance Abuse/Opioid Task Force and Kathy Koenigsdorf, Founder, of the Jake K. Foundation.
"These tragedies don’t happen to other people, they happen to people like us…all of us have been touched in some way, by loss due to overdose or suicide. We’re making strides, but we have more work to do," concluded the Supervisor.
For more information on treatment resources, or how to turn your home or business purple, visit www.islipgoespurple.com