Fifteen students from Tug Valley High School in West Virginia participated in an Opioid Forum at Southampton High School on Thursday, July 11, 2019. The West Virginia students are on Long Island for a week-long visit with students from Northport High School.
Kermit, West Virginia is one of the most impoverished communities in the country. It is believed that Kermit was the one of the epicenters of the beginning of the opioid epidemic. In 2016, a Pulitzer Prize winning report revealed that wholesaler pharmaceutical companies flooded Kermit with more than 12 million hydrocodone pills between 2007 and 2012 creating overdose deaths five times more than the national average.
Students from Northport High School visited Kermit last winter and invited the students to Long Island in July. The Northport Opioid Task Force was modeled after the Southampton Opioid Task Force and the West Virginia students expressed interest in learning more about what’s being done in Southampton to combat the opioid crisis.
The students met with Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and members of the Southampton Addiction and Recovery Committee, including Police Chief Steven Skrynecki and former News 12 Anchor Drew Scott to discuss ideas on how to end the opioid epidemic. Students from Southampton and Northport High Schools also participated in the discussion. The students recommended keeping the lines of communications open between students and adults as one of the best ways to stop the epidemic.