The two towns that make up the famous summer playground of the Hamptons are facing a grave threat.
No longer immune to the epidemic affecting communities across the United States, opioid use is on the rise in Southampton and East Hampton, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal.
Between 2010 and 2016, more than 50 people died from opioid-related drug overdoses in the Hamptons. The rate of overdose in the area went up nearly 70% in that time period — above the national average increase of 55%, according to the Suffolk County Police Department and the Centres for Disease Control.
The problem didn’t crop out of nowhere. For years, pain medications were overprescribed. After stricter rules were enforced, many turned to similar street substances, like heroin.
“We certainly recognise we’re not immune to the scourge of drug abuse and misuse and the associated heroin epidemic,” East Hampton Police Captain Christopher Anderson told the WSJ.
Schools and the police departments in the area have begun an initiative to distribute Narcan kits, a drug that can negate the effects of opioids in the event of an overdose.
The problem in the Hamptons mirrors the issues happening in other summer enclaves, like Nantucket, where a lack of social support services and relative physical isolation exacerbate the issue.
The rate of overdose deaths across the US has doubled in the last 15 years, according to a new report by the CDC.