This story has been updated.
MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- The ever-widening, often deadly scourge of drug abuse even devastates peaceful suburban villages.
That's why the mayor and citizens of Mamaroneck held a public forum Thursday Sept. 22 to share ideas and brainstorm solutions to clamping down on a ramped up rate of drug use, including fatal heroin and prescription painkiller deaths -- within the village and town. The meeting was at the Village Court building, 169 Mount Pleasant Ave.
Mamaroneck Mayor Norman Rosenblum established a Mayor's Drug Culture Committee to address the epidemic of drug abuse.
"The effect of this epidemic and threat, in particular to our young people, as well as the general public is unfortunately emphasized by the recent overdose deaths in the Village of Mamaroneck of three young residents; two of which happened in the past couple of weeks," Rosenblum told Daily Voice. "It is estimated that there is a national average of 13 overdose deaths an hour in the country. . . . The time to act is now to save harm or death to our residents and particularly to our younger generation."
Recent fatal drug overdoses included a young man from Washingtonville and a 25-year-old woman from Shore Acres, according to Rosenblum. "There are no restrictions to where or who is subject to this epidemic," he said.
The Mayor's Drug Culture Committee includes students Kristie Faicco, Dani Charlotte Kerz and Susan Batterton; parents Jim Abbate, Susanna Herlitz-Ferguson and Pique Buford; April Tunno of the Mamaroneck Youth Council; Mamaroneck Judge Christie McEvoy-Derrico; Mamaroneck Police Chief Christopher Leahy; with support from state Assemblyman Steve Otis, Sen. George Latimer and Acting Westchester County District Attorney James A. McCarty.
At least two Mamaroneck School District officials attended the public meeting: Helene Fremder, a social worker/drug and alcohol counselor at Mamaroneck High School and Vin Minotti, health teacher at MHS. They are involved with related drug and alcohol education initiatives in the district including RADAR, health classes and the Tigers Den.
Herlitz-Ferguson of Larchmont said the problem is much more pervasive than the highly-publicized heroin overdoses: "In our meetings, we have always discussed a variety of ALL kinds of drugs, including prescription drugs that in combination -- like Xanax and alcohol -- seem to be a big favorite in our local communities," she said.