Unions Stopping Addiction
by Bill Salvatore
Local 28 SMART MAP Director
At a park in Flushing, N.Y., Local 28 took a swing at striking out addiction by hosting a softball tournament highlighting the issue.
The opioid epidemic has been declared a national health crisis, with Hydrocodone, Oxycontin, Vicodin and Fentanyl starting as pain medication that can progress to addiction. Opioid overdoses have passed auto accidents as the #1 cause of accidental death in the U.S.
SMART has not escaped the crisis that’s affecting our members, and their sons, daughters, spouses, neighbors and co-workers. In response, the International has enhanced SMART MAP peer assistance and SMOHIT’s permanent, professionally staffed hotline (see facing page).
Locals are also battling the issue, and, as one member put it, “When something needs to be done, Local 28 steps into the batter’s box.”
Local 28, Philadelphia SM Local 19—with its own strong apprentice awareness program—and eight other N.Y. building trade unions fielded teams for this vital cause.
All proceeds ere directly donated to The Villa Veritas Foundation, which has provided drug and alcohol addiction treatment for communities, union members and first responders for more than 45 years.
Participating providers Seafield, Long Island Center for Recovery, Bridge Back to Life and Geisinger Marworth were also there, handing out literature and assuring members and families that help is available.
Families In Support of Treatment and Narcotics Anonymous brought their common message, “you’re not alone.” City Councilman Roy Lanceman stopped by to lend support.
This was the first such N.Y. event with Union members, their families and treatment providers all getting together under one umbrella.
The purpose was serious; so was the tournament. Even a 90-minute rain delay didn’t dampen spirits. In the semi-finals, SM Local 19 beat SM Local 28 and Local 3 Electricians took a close game from Local 638 Steam Fitters. Local 3 Electricians edged Local 19 for the crown. Local 28 said, “We’ll get ‘em next year.“