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Dealing with Opioid Epidemic Depends on Open Communication and Community Support PDF Print Email


By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter

May 23, 2018: Eastchester Town Councilman Glenn Bellitto and his wife, Kyle, learned firsthand about the dangers of opioid addiction when their 19-year-old son Gage died of an overdose in December of 2017.

"These drugs don't let you go," Bellitto said. "That's why it's so important for us to really try to get to the kids before they start on this path. Once you're addicted to opioids, it's a rough road."

Bellitto explained that opioid addiction typically begins with a prescription for oxycodone pills. When a doctor can no longer prescribe them, the pills can be bought on the street for approximately $65 per pill. People who can't afford that tend to begin using heroin, which is cheaper than oxycodone pills. Street dealers also sell fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that looks like heroin but is 50 to 100 times more potent and much cheaper than heroin. When people mistake fentanyl for heroin and take the same amount, the dose can turn lethal.

The relapse rate for opioid addiction, Bellitto said, is approximately 90 percent within the first 30 days of leaving rehab. "I always thought that when you went to a 28-day rehab, moved to a halfway house or sober house, and then had outpatient treatment, you were pretty much done recovering," he said. People who have been addicted to opioids for six or seven years have been in rehab an average of ten times.

Bellitto believes that the ability to fight the national opioid epidemic, also on the rise over the past two years in the communities of Eastchester, Bronxville, and Tuckahoe, depends on communication. "Once people start talking about it, more people will be open," he said. Only then, he added, can the community galvanize to take action.

In an effort to provide a forum for open communication, Bellitto's colleague Eastchester Town Councilwoman Theresa Nicholson has been instrumental in helping form The Care Coalition, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the opioid crisis in the community. "We want the community to come together," she said. "Everyone is experiencing some aspect of this issue. Everyone feels the loss."

Nicholson serves on a town task force that formed a steering committee to help address the crisis. The Care Coalition, she said, has a mission to not only raise awareness of the opioid epidemic problem but also to provide resources for people seeking help in dealing with it. The five-week-old organization, still in its formative stages, will hold a candlelight vigil on Wednesday, May 30, at 7:30 pm at the gazebo across from Eastchester Town Hall, 40 Mill Road in Eastchester.

Bellitto expects to see a mix of people at the vigil, including people whose families have been touched directly by the crisis because of loss or ongoing addiction, and also people who want to show their support for others who have suffered losses. "I think it will open up communication," he said. He believes that speaking publicly about his son's death from an opioid overdose has helped remove the stigma that has shamed people into silence. "We need a force rather than silence behind the scenes," he added

Nicholson and Bellitto emphasized that one objective of The Care Coalition is to assure people that they are not alone in dealing with opioid abuse issues. "We want to bring the community together," Nicholson said, "and raise awareness that people want to help."

Pictured here: A notice about the candlelight vigil sponsored by The Care Coalition that will be held in Eastchester on May 30.

Photo courtesy Theresa Nicholson, Eastchester town councilwoman and member of The Care Coalition 


Village Capital Projects Include Police Body Cameras, Tennis Facility Repairs, More Teardrop Street Lighting, and Sagamore Park Improvements

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By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter May 22, 2019: The Bronxville Board of Trustees, at its regular meeting on May 13, addressed the approval of capital projects and the...

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Bronxville Overview

Bronxville Overview

Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.

While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.

Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.

The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.

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