Addiction is a disease. We’ve been hearing that for decades. Yet when it comes to treatment, addiction often is treated as something else, something less.
Whether the abused substance is alcohol, pills or, increasingly here on Long Island, heroin, treating addiction rarely is given the same importance as other medical disorders.
That point was made and backed up with numerous examples in a wide-ranging, several-hour interview I recently had with Claudia Peters Ragni of the Kenneth Peters Center for Recovery, an outpatient program for the treatment of chemical dependency.
Spend any time at all with Claudia Peters Ragni, and you will be terribly frightened. Not that the tall, thin Ragni is scary. In fact, her high-energy personality and depth of knowledge are quite reassuring. But her message is the stuff of nightmares.
“Eighty percent of people addicted to drugs and alcohol are high functioning, have jobs, drive cars, have families,” said Ragni, who heads the Kenneth Peters Center for Recovery, an outpatient treatment program with offices in Syosset and Hauppauge. “I have never known anyone who didn’t know someone who fit this description.”
There but for the grace of God go I. It’s something I often find myself thinking about whenever I see a homeless person or hear stories on the news about poverty, which unfortunately is fairly often. On Long Island alone, 250,000 people depend on soup kitchens, food pantries and emergency shelters for their food during the year.
Having been a struggling single mom, I’ve unfortunately had the experience of trying to financially keep my head above water even while trying to take care of and protect my kids. At the end of the day, it’s charitable organizations that are oftentimes that life preserver for those people who are metaphorically drowning.
A night out with the ladies is the perfect occasion to break out that new LBD, dance away the memories of your ex-boyfriend, or relieve the stress of a hectic work week with a salt on the rim margarita. But more than anything, it’s a time to bond and unwind with your favorite females. Whether you’re looking to get glammed up for a night on the town, get pampered with your posse, or keep it casual and low-key, Long Island has plenty of places for you to let loose with your girlfriends every day of the week.
Although “Governor Cooper” has a nice ring, it is very doubtful that those words will be on any New Yorker’s lips come November. But that’s not going to shake Westbury’s Richard Cooper from his quest. He is determined to run as the Libertarian Party’s candidate for governor.
“Voters will have a choice,” said the 57-year-old Cooper, who works as a vice president at his family’s manufacturing company in Westbury. “All of the other parties are parties of big government.”
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