Orangetown Councilman Denis Troy remembers when the Orangetown Substance Abuse Committee hadn't met for over two years.
He has seen it change to one of the town's more effective committees in his years as its liaison to the town council.
"It is one of the best committees I've been on in my time with the town, one of the best and most effective," Troy said.
The committee meets once a month, usually on the first Wednesday. Part of the focus for the meeting 7 p.m. June 6 is the recruitment of new members, with committee chair Eddie O'Dea and member Ann Marie Hahr both planning to leave later this year.
"We're asking anybody who is interested to come to the next meeting," said committee member Ann Marie Hahr. "We are trying to fill some slots. Ed and I are stepping down in September. We want more people there who want to be a part of it going forward.
"The goal is to bring in good programs for the community and to be a resource for people to come to us if they have a problem so we can get them to the right people."
Among the programs the committee started or took part in creating:
- Orangetown's 24-Hour Substance Abuse Hotline, which accepts calls or text messages from people needing somewhere to call safely and anonymously for help. The number is 845-826-4026.
- Mock DWI accidents at local high schools.
- Bring in speakers to both Tappan Zee and Pearl River High Schools.
- Parent liability program to educate parents as to what can happen if they allow a party with underage drinking at their home.
"Everything said there (in the committee meetings) is confidential," Hahr said. "We look into underage drinking programs. We make sure the bars are looked at, the places that sell to under age drinkers. We look at what the community needs."
"One thing they did is brought Pearl River High School and Tappan Zee together to have a synergy of speakers," Troy said. "They saved money by sponsoring speakers at both schools. They might bring somebody who gets $3,000 for speaking and they pay $4,000 to get them to speak at both schools."
The principals of both high schools, William Furdon of Pearl River and Jennifer Amos of Tappan Zee, are both members of the committee, as are students from both schools, representatives of the Orangetown Police Department, SOCASA, and CANDLE.
According to the town website, the current membership of the committee is as follows:
- Chairperson Ed O'Dea
- Orangetown Police Chief Kevin Nulty
- Orangetown Police Lt. Don Butterworth
- Police Officer Susan Lanoce
- Police Officer Michael Kopunek
- Police Det. Joe Sullivan
- Pearl River High School Principal William Furdon
- Tappan Zee High School Principal Jennifer Amos
- Tappan Zee High School Asst. Principal Sheila Silverman
- Pearl River High School Student Assistance Counselor Denise Zumpano
- Sue Maher of SOCASA
- Vicki Shaw of SOCASA
- Joanne Goodman of CANDLE
- Ann Marie Hahr
- Debbie Whalen
- Gail McMorrow
- Patrick Sweeney
- William Carroll
- Scott Salmon
- Christine DiDomenico
- Maureen Heller
- Bill Lee
- Caitlin Kenny
- Devona Paul
- Caroline Russo
- Christopher Stuhlweissenburg
- Councilman Denis Troy (liaison)