Don’t ignore substance abuse

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To the Editor:

At last week’s hospital forum, Denise Schepici, our new CEO, did not seem particularly interested in identifying a role for the hospital in addressing the Island’s No. 1 public health problem, substance abuse. Though we’ve seen estimates on the financial impact of substance abuse on the Island overall ($50 million annually), I have to wonder what the financial impact of this problem is on the hospital itself.

Falmouth Hospital recently reported that fully half of the beds in their ICU were occupied by people with substance problems, and we already know that our little hospital actually traffics over 1,500 substance-related cases through its emergency department every year. Ironically, it may actually be costing the hospital more to ignore the problem of substance abuse on Martha’s Vineyard than it would to jump in and become part of the solution. Just a thought.

Bill Croke
Edgartown