Driving around our hamlets, it would be hard not to notice all the purple signs, bows, flags, and lights hung in support of National Recovery Month as part of Islip Goes Purple 2020. “Going purple” for the month of September is a nation-wide trend, that has been growing in momentum as the opioid crisis has worsened. Last year, the Town of Islip Opioid Task Force decided to join this effort, and this year put out a call to action for local organizations to help spread the word in their communities. The Great South Bay Coalition, a local recipient of Drug-Free Communities (DFC) federal grant funding, purchased bows and lightbulbs from local vendors, and reached out to community organizations to support the effort locally. The positive response from the Bayport, Blue Point, Sayville, and West Sayville communities was overwhelming, and led to the growth and success of this project, and the ubiquitous sea of purple we have seen this month.
Islip Goes Purple has four main goals: to raise awareness, enhance people’s access to help, encourage conversations, and stop the stigma surrounding substance use disorder. Sayville resident, and GSB Coalition Chairperson Sarah Orlando believes these goals are being accomplished through this wonderful community collaboration. She said of the project, “This initiative is so important in helping to end the stigma of substance abuse and supporting those in recovery. Driving around my hometown seeing the community get behind this, displaying their purple, sharing their stories and coming together especially at a time like this is truly something special.” One local resident sharing her story in support of the program is Pam Raymond. She has proudly been in recovery for over 35 years, and says, “I feel best when I am able to help someone who is where I was or maybe even worse off than I was.” Pam hopes that the success of Islip Goes Purple will be a springboard to get people, especially young people, struggling with substance use disorder the help and support they need.
Islip Goes Purple was a true community-wide effort, and its success would not have been accomplished without the support of: Bayport-Blue Point UFSD, Bayport Fire Department, Bayport Blue Point Chamber of Commerce, Bayport Flower House, Blue Point Fire Department, Brinkmann’s Hardware, Community Ambulance Company, Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce, Great South Bay Coalition, Long Island Prevention Resource Center, National Guard Counter-Drug Task Force, Northwell Health, Razing Hair, Sayville Fire Department, Sayville UFSD, YES and the numerous community members that went purple in their own creative ways to show support for their neighbors. If you would like to join The Great South Bay Coalition, and help contribute to future projects please visit greatsouthbaycoalition.com or email email@example.com.