Logan CrawfordNov 13, 2017, 6:59 pmNov 15, 2017, 11:29 am

Southampton creates opioid addiction task force as drug-related deaths rise

The task force is made of past addicts, doctors and police officials

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SOUTHAMPTON — In the midst of the national opioid crisis, a Long Island town is creating a task force to prevent future overdoses in their community.

In the Town of Southampton, officials say the number of opioid-related deaths is growing.

"Problem is very serious and we need to do something about it. I'm not sure what, but we do need to do something about it. Talking about it is a start," Southampton resident Nancy Hauber said.

Officials say the town of 60,000 people has lost 17 to drugs this year compared to five opioid-related deaths last year in Southampton.

"Today's drugs are more accessible and more lethal," said Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.

Schneiderman is the co-chair of the new Southampton Town Opioid Addiction Task Force, a group of 40 people who want to figure out how to solve the drug problem. The task force is made up of members of law enforcement, school administrators, doctors and recovering addicts.

"My goal is to prevent that next overdose. If we're averaging one per month, I don't have a lot of time to figure out who the next person is," Schneiderman said.

He says the task force is working on drug prevention and public education, letting people know where to go if they're in trouble.

On Wednesday, the task force is holding a community forum where local leaders will hear from family, friends and others impacted by the opioid crisis. The task force hopes to get ideas from the public on how best to fight the local war on drugs.

The Opioid Addiction Forum will be on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Hampton Bays High School.

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