The arrival of summer and its many activities and distractions has already begun to crowd the Island’s continuing opiate crisis out of the spotlight. It is heartening then that the coalition that put together this week’s useful community forum on the topic has committed to follow up with a concrete action plan.

Monday night’s two-plus-hour panel, which drew about three hundred people to the Performing Arts Center at the high school, was a mix of uplifting personal stories of recovery, clinical information about addiction, and ideas from elsewhere about prevention, intervention and treatment. Apart from four local members of Narcotics Anonymous, speakers were largely from off Island, a conscious choice by organizers who were eager to avoid any appearance that one agency or group was controlling the agenda.

The lobby of the performing arts center was filled with informational tables representing the range of groups whose missions touch on addiction, ranging from the Youth Task Force, the Dukes County Health Council, Community Services, Vineyard House, and the YMCA. Representatives from law enforcement, the court system, the mental health counseling community and the hospital were also present. A resource guide distributed at the event described the various resources available on Island to address prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery.

Among the speakers was Jim Derick, a founder of Norfolk County’s SAFE coalition, a community group that formed to address substance abuse issues in that county, who described several initiatives that community has found successful, including the creation of weekly drop-in centers, where people can go for confidential help.

Mr. Derick offered to provide the organization’s business plan with other ideas for community action that could be adapted for the Island.

Martha’s Vineyard is not alone in facing an upsurge in overdoses and deaths related to heroin addiction and other opioid use, and though the actual number of victims is relatively small, each successive loss, like a drop of rain on a small pond, has created wide ripples.

And while there has been understandable concern that not enough is being done Islandwide to address the epidemic, for a time there seemed to be more finger pointing than collaboration. Monday night’s event offered some hope that turf battles have been set aside in favor of unified action.

Organizers calling themselves the MV Community Forum coalition have now created a Facebook page and pledged to follow up with specific steps.

We look forward to seeing the good energy generated by the forum turned into positive progress.

And while keeping the focus on off-Island solutions was the right way to launch a much-needed community initiative, the coalition needs to move quickly to answer questions that lingered when Monday night’s forum is over. Among these: why does the Island lack a detoxification facility, and what is the prospect for filling this significant health care gap?