A strong support system is vital in a fight against drug abuse, and now North Shore families will have more options to help struggling loved ones manage their addiction.
Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) and Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco delivered a check for $10,000 to the North Shore Youth Council in Rocky Point this week, which will be designated for its new family counseling initiative to combat substance abuse. The grant, which is funded from the sheriff’s office asset forfeiture monies, will engage whole families in therapy designed to help them cope, understand the root causes of addiction and support their loved one’s recovery.
Anker proposed the pilot initiative following a conversation with Father Frank Pizzarelli from Hope House Ministries in Port Jefferson.
When Anker approached the sheriff about the possibility of using asset forfeiture funds dedicated for this purpose, DeMarco was all in favor of the project.
“Family therapy can lower relapse rates, help parents with addicted children find effective ways to support their loved one’s recovery and even help children with addicted parents deal with their struggles,” he said. “ I am hoping this initiative will serve as a model and get more families involved in recovery.”
The North Shore Youth Council serves communities across the North Shore, including Port Jefferson, Wading River, Middle Island, Ridge and Coram. The agency helps hundreds of families each day through their school-based prevention and before and after care programs. According to the youth council’s Executive Director Janene Gentile, many people within the community can’t afford family counseling, because money is tight due to lost wages and the cost of treatment.
“Treatment is the first step, but ongoing family therapy is often essential to getting to the root of the problems that led someone to use drugs in the first place,” she said. “This grant will defer the cost of family counseling, which will eliminate the most common barrier to families engaging in therapy.
North Shore Youth Council’s Board President Laurel Sutton joined with Gentile in thanking the County sheriff and legislator for their support.
“I want to thank Sheriff DeMarco and Legislator Anker for giving us this opportunity to enhance our counseling services to struggling families impacted by the opioid [problem],” she said.
For more information about the family counseling initiative, or to schedule an appointment with a counselor, call the North Shore Youth Council at 631-744-0207.