In 2016, drug overdoses resulted in approximately 90 deaths on Staten Island. To combat the heroin epidemic that has been plaguing the borough of New York City, a new program is being collectively launched by the Staten Island H.E.A.R.T Initiative. H.E.A.R.T is an acronym for Heroin Epidemic Archdiocese Response Team, and this initiative was designed by the Catholic Charities of Staten Island and Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). The coaches and members of H.E.A.R.T aim to enlighten, help and motivate families on Staten Island to fight this crisis.
Coaches, parishes in need of help and referees are undergoing NARCAN training with help from Staten Island University Hospital. H.E.A.R.T has also teamed up with Carl’s House, so that addicts on Staten Island who require treatment can be referred to an appropriate facility. The Catholic Charities Parish Counseling Network is also playing a role in this initiative. So, counseling service referrals will also be offered by this program. Families will be able to avail up to 6 counseling sessions, each of which will cost them merely $10.
Staten Island University Hospital presents sound evidence of the borough’s surging drug epidemic. Addicts and patients who have suffered drug overdoses are frequently brought in ambulances to the ERs and entered into the hospital’s drug treatment programs. The NARCAN training that Staten Island University Hospital is now providing in partnership with H.E.A.R.T could help save valuable lives. At the same time, Staten Island’s community could also be educated about prevention and treatment.
As a result of this partnership, Staten Island locals who find themselves in dire need of resources will have easy access to them. While the whole of Staten Island is being affected by this crisis, the roots of this problem can be traced back to within the local community. Carl’s House is taking pride in having become a member of H.E.A.R.T as of 2017. This initiative is being led by Mike Neely, the CYO county coordinator. This initiative will hopefully play its part in addressing the needs of Staten Island’s community.
The present generation is at death’s door because of the epidemic and it is a major threat to the youth. Coaches of sports organizations that are affiliated with CYO will be speaking with children. Those who require help will have access to it, while referrals to counselling and treatment facilities will also be offered.
An Overdose Response Initiative has also been designed and implemented by Michael McMahon, Staten Island’s District Attorney. The goal behind this initiative is to target drug dealers on Staten Island. A public tip hotline can be established that the locals of the island will be able to call and any deaths that result of drug overdoses will be thoroughly investigated.
With Staten Island’s catholic community having joined hands and working together, a vast support network has now become available to combat the borough’s drug epidemic. Help in the form of resources and services will also be more readily available to the locals already struggling with addiction, which could help them embark upon a journey towards recovery.