Four years ago, approximately 100 families a month were coming to the Long Island Council On Alcoholism And Drug Dependence for help. Now, in what can only be described as an epidemic among teenagers, 700 families a month are walking into LICADD needing assistance.
On Wednesday, June 12, golfers across Long Island can help teenagers fight their addictions to drugs and alcohol at the second annual Tee-Off For Teens Golf Tournament, to be held at the Maidstone Golf Club in East Hampton. Proceeds of the event will directly support the many evidence-based programs for teens that LICADD currently offers to the Long Island community.
Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, the executive director of LICADD, which has offices in Mineola, Ronkonkoma and Riverhead, said the number of drug-dependent people is growing, and the average age is steadily declining as well.
“Four years ago, each person who came to us with a problem was in their 40s,” he explained. “Now, the average patient is in their 20s. I’ve been in public health for 25 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Last year’s inaugural tournament got off to a slow start. The original date was postponed because of poor weather, and instead of teeing off in June, golfers had to wait until October. Still, throughout all of the changes, LICADD eventually put on a successful event at Maidstone. Nearly 70 golfers participated and raised $50,000 for teenagers in need of help.
About 80 slots are open for this year’s event.
LICADD has put on golf outings in Nassau County the past 26 years but decided to reach a different part of the island. “Maidstone is a great course, and we had such a great experience with them last year,” Reynolds said. “They rolled with us last year through all of the changes, and we’ve been able to attract a number of people who may not be able to get to our other golf outings in Nassau.”
LICADD, which has been serving Long Island for more than 57 years, delivers prevention programs aimed at bolstering children’s and young adults’ self-esteem, confidence and communication with peers and parents, before they are presented with the choice to use alcohol and drugs. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 67 percent of young people who start drinking before the age of 15 will try an illicit drug. According to LICADD, the usage of methamphetamines and heroin among teenagers on Long Island is at an all-time high.
To register for the Tee-Off For Teens tournament, or for more information, go to LICADD.org, or contact Rosanne Slattery at email@example.com, or (516) 747-2606, ext. 103. Registration and brunch starts at 11 a.m. on the day of the tournament, which has a shotgun start at 1 p.m.