New York, NY – When Outreach started in Glendale, Queens some 40 years ago, addiction wasn’t the killer of young people it is today. Sadly, the ensuing decades have only made the treatment center only that much more vital. And the organization could not keep up the fight without its friends and supporters.
On Thursday, November 29, Outreach will honor Tom Canty, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield general manager and vice-president, for his many years of dedicated support of the organization’s ongoing mission to free families from the vice-grip of addiction.
“The thing I like about [Outreach] is they give kids a second chance before they go too far down the wrong road,” Canty tells LaborPress. “They try to nip the problem in the bud in the beginning of their lives — giving themselves — and their parents, some hope.”
Last year, drug overdoses claimed the lives of 72,000 Americans — 49,000 of those deaths attributed to opioids — prescription pain killers designed to mimic the properties of drugs including morphine and heroin.
“It’s been devastating especially in blue collar communities,” Canty says. “Maybe they went on medication for an injury — and they just kept on taking it. It could be the loss of income which causes people to look for comfort in other areas, that’s where drugs and alcohol come in. And it could be social; break up of the family. Something could happen within the family that upsets the youngster and causes them to seek a different means of comforting themselves through drugs or alcohol.”
Of course, substance abuse — drugs and/or alcohol — doesn’t only devastate those struggling with addiction.
“My father was an alcoholic,” the 63-year-old married father of three says. “It definitely hit me at home. I feel these people’s pain. Alcoholism causes great dysfunction within the family.”
Canty, who was born in Brooklyn, attended Brooklyn College and studied law at Western Michigan University before beginning work in organized labor and later, the Mario Cuomo administration, has been with Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield for nearly 20 years.
“The people at Outreach are really doing a great job,” Canty says. “I’m honored and humbled that they would pick me for this honor.”
Outreach’s Annual Metropolitan Luncheon is being held at Cipriani, 110 East 42nd Street, NYC. Start time is 11:45 a.m. John J. Murphy, International representative, United Association, Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the Untied States and Canada, and James Whelan, vp, Property Management, Paramount Group, are also being honored. To RSVP contact Outreach Fund Raising Coordinator Marsha Radulov at 718-847-9233, ext. 2310 or firstname.lastname@example.org.