Irondequoit Community unites to form coalition to combat
youth drug addiction
Group will work to promote healthy lifestyles, provide resources for parents and
students; remove stigma attached to drug use
Key Irondequoit town stakeholders today announced the formation of a coalition designed to prevent and reduce drug use among teenagers and young adults in Irondequoit. The “Drug-Free Irondequoit: Together” (D-FI: Together) coalition will work with local schools and parents to educate the community about the growing dangers of drug use, particularly in the wake of growing opiate addiction throughout America.
“Opiate addiction is, unfortunately, a growing problem, not only locally but across the country,” said Supervisor David Seeley. “However, the efforts to address this matter are most effectively accomplished right here, locally, where those who are most affected can be engaged and we can find real solutions as a community. The Town is proud to work to bring together all stakeholders affected by drug addiction.”
The Chair of D-FI: Together is Virginia “Ginny” Nacy, an Irondequoit resident who tragically lost her son to a heroin overdose in 2015. It’s a story that has become all too familiar in recent years, and several concerned citizens, led by Ms. Nacy, have worked with the Town to bring together key stakeholders throughout the Irondequoit community to address this disturbing trend and break the stigma that is too often associated with opiate addiction.
“The growing use of opiates is being felt in every community in America,” said Ginny Nacy. “The best way to address this crisis, however, is at the local level. Our grassroots group is committed to tackling the issue of drug addiction, and removing the stigma that has too often stood in the way of meaningful action.”
“Irondequoit is a unique town. We have three high schools run by three districts – all of whom care very much about the children of this Town,” said Dino Kay, Spokesperson for D-FI: Together. “We owe it to our children to work together and unite to fight this growing epidemic. This group represents one community, and will be a resource for parents and students alike.”
D-FI: Together, is an inclusive local organization comprised of a broad cross-section of concerned and committed residents from Irondequoit, as well as specialists from across the Rochester region. At present, key stakeholder groups include:
- The Town of Irondequoit: Supervisor Dave Seeley and Police Chief Richard Tantalo
- Irondequoit Parents
- Irondequoit Students
- The Finger Lakes Prevention Resource Center
- East Irondequoit Central School District
- West Irondequoit Central School District
- Bishop Kearney High School
- Veterans Outreach Center
- Irondequoit Kiwanis
- Irondequoit Rotary
- Irondequoit Ministerial Association
- Irondequoit Chamber of Commerce
- National Guard Counterdrug Task Force
- Irondequoit Town Advocacy Group (ITAG)
- Irondequoit residents: Ginny Nacy, Margaret Burns, Pat Sigel, Dino Kay, Senior Airman Mandy Zaleski (United States Air Force)
D-FI: Together will work to create systemic change of norms and attitudes associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs among youth, their families and the Irondequoit community at large. Specifically, the coalition will develop and support the implementation of programs and activities related to prevention, education and the reduction of substance abuse by:
- Acting as a channel for programs and information relating to healthy non-addictive lifestyles
- Assessing and reporting the needs of our community through evidence based practices, and
- Addressing gaps revealed by these reports.
The group will also serve as an educational resource for parents throughout the Irondequoit community looking to learn more about drug addiction, with a special focus on, opiate and heroin use. The coalition will serve as a conduit to grant funding that is becoming more readily available to develop community based strategies to treat drug use.
This month, the Washington Post published a sobering article highlighting some chilling recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the Post states, the CDC announced a “grim milestone” with the revelation that, “more people died from heroin-related causes than from gun homicides in 2015.” Perhaps as shocking as that milestone is the speed with which heroin addiction has taken hold, “[a]s recently as 2007, gun homicides outnumbered heroin deaths by more than 5 to 1.” Clearly opiate addiction is not a small “personal” problem. It is an issue that impacts us all and as such Irondequoit should face this challenge together, as a unified community.