Huntington ‘Goes Purple’ for National Recovery Month

Huntington officials and several experts in the scourge of opiod addiction spoke out Wednesday in support of “Huntington Goes Purple,” an initiative designed to raise awareness of the drug crisis.

Purple flags will fly on the front lawn of Town Hall and on lamp posts along New York Avenue and Larkfield Road in observance of National Recovery Month–September–, which was created in 1989 to destigmatize the disease of addiction, promote evidence-based treatment, and celebrate the tens of millions of Americans in recovery.

Speakers at a press conference to discuss the opioid crisis and the initiative said that the role of mental health and emotional issues cannot be ignored.  Some emphasized the importance of schools in helping parents deal with a child’s drug or other problems;  Sharon Richmond, a teacher who a member of the Town of Huntington Opioid & Addiction Task Force, urged New York to follow the lead of the State of Illinois and mandate prevention and support education for all school age children.

“This initiative allows us to preserve the memories of those we lost to addiction and pay tribute to the amazing social workers, mental health care professionals, and nonprofit volunteers who work tirelessly to support individuals in recovery.  “I am honored to help bring back ‘Huntington Goes Purple’ for its third year,” Councilwoman Joan Cergol said. Councilman Sal Ferro will succeed her on the task force when she leaves office at the end of the year.

Approximately one million Americans have died of a drug- or alcohol-related overdose since 1999, with a 30% increase in overdose deaths from 2019 to 2020, the town said. Some of the most prominent barriers to recovery include social stigma toward addiction and a lack of access to treatment options.

Town officials also announced a series of Recovery Month events to be held in Huntington, including:

  • 4th Annual Night of Remembrance Candlelight Vigil on Friday at Northport Village Park
  • Wellness Walk for Recovery at Heckscher Park on Sept. 9
  • Interfaith Community Forum on Sept. 20 at the at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington
  • Celebration of Hope and Recovery at Old First Presbyterian Church on Sept.28.

Dr. Jeffrey L. Reynolds and Mary Silberstein, co-chairs of the Opioid & Addiction Task Force, spoke on the importance of educating the public on both the dangers of drugs and alcohol and where to locate treatment for substance use disorder.

Richmond urged New York to follow the lead of Illinois and mandate prevention and support education for all school age children.

“Together we show support for those individuals and families affected by mental health and substance use disorder,” she said. “Together we send the message: you are not alone.”

Individuals seeking support for substance use disorder are urged to call one of the following hotlines:

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-4357 (or text your ZIP code to 435748)

LICADD: (516) 747-2606 | (631) 979-1700

OASAS: 1-877-846-7369



Dr. Jeffrey L. Reynolds, Family and Children’s Association


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