A few weeks ago, the Franklin Town Council hosted a thoughtful discussion on the opioid epidemic. While I was pleased to be a part of that discussion, it was unsettling to see the damage that is wreaking havoc on people and their families; those who struggle daily with the disease of addiction.
No community is immune from this crisis, but there are multi-faceted ways to address it. The Legislature has taken a number of steps through laws and budget appropriations to get in front of the problem. And it has been supportive of efforts to establish community coalitions to confront opioid abuse. Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey has taken the lead in establishing coalitions throughout Norfolk County and he is happy to add Franklin to the list.
Plans for a Franklin Coalition are well under way and we will meet for the first time on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at 7 p.m. in the Franklin High School Auditorium. At the first meeting, we will have an opportunity to discuss the mission and objectives of the coalition, hear from Community Coalition members from other towns, and hear from some experts in the field about how to address the opioid epidemic which is plaguing Massachusetts communities. We will also have a chance to talk about what we would like to see in Franklin.
On June 3, in preparation for our first coalition meeting, we met with Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey and his Coalition Leaders in Canton (see photo above). Jenn Rowe and Ryan Walker from his office have been spearheading this effort for Norfolk County. Franklin Town Councilor Robert Dellorco, Franklin Detective John Ryan, student Ben Waters, counselor Jennifer Knight, and legislative aide Chris Yancich joined us for this briefing and discussion on the ways that we can combat the opioid epidemic in our community. The information will prove helpful in the formation of our community coalition.
Finally, you are urged to view Dr. Anne Bergen's TV show "It Takes a Village" on Franklin.TV where the topic is discussed. I was honored to join the Police Chief, Town Administrator, and Superintendent of Schools on that show to discuss the opiate problem. It was a fascinating discussion as we explored the things that are happening at the state and local level to improve and save lives tarnished by addiction. To see when the show will be aired, click here for Franklin.TV's directory. You can also find the Milford Daily News report on the show by clicking here.
If you know anyone who is interested in being a part of the coalition, tell them they can sign up to be on the email distribution list by clicking here. And you should feel free to forward this email to your friends and colleagues and urge them to sign up for this effort.
It will take a team effort to take on this epidemic, but together we can save lives and heal fractured families. I look forward to working with you.