Last Tuesday night's meeting was a great start to a community conversation on opioid abuse. Over 200 people joined in the conversation. Click here to view the newspaper report about the evening.
We are planning our next coalition meeting for Tuesday, August 12 at a location to be determined. Please save the date and we will let you know as soon as the details are finalized. In the meantime, we will be working on an organizational structure for the coalition, our website and social media resources, establishing a support group in Franklin, and developing other community resources. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please pass them along by replying to this email.
Today we are in the midst of a health crisis in the fight against heroin and opiate addiction. It's taking the lives of our community members. Earlier this month, TIME magazine noted that powerful painkillers are creating the worst addiction crisis America has ever seen.
Massachusetts' opioid addiction problem was declared a public health emergency more than a year ago. Since then it has gotten worse. The state saw more than 1,000 opioid-related deaths in 2014 – three times as many as in 2000. We've seen the devastation of addiction right here in our backyards and neighborhoods.
Last week the Governor's Opioid Task Force released its report and recommendations. It identifies addiction as a public health challenge, not a law enforcement issue. It recognizes Substance Use Disorder as a chronic medical condition, calling on the medical community to treat it as such. And it calls on everyone to reduce the stigma that prevents those suffering from Substance Use Disorder from getting the help they need.
A continued open and frank discussion is what we need to generate new ideas and new approaches. This crisis is not going to be solved in a day with one meeting. We started this coalition because we know that the cost of turning our backs on this problem is simply too high. And a community that can have this type of conversation is a strong one. I'm happy to see that this conversation has begun and humbled to see that so many people showed up to join in.
I'm glad we got together last Tuesday, but the conversation must continue. We have legislators, law enforcement personnel (including our district attorney), firefighters, local officials, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, school officials, counselors, family members, friends and neighbors – all committed to eradicating harmful opiates and saving lives.
Thank you for your commitment to this effort and I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, August 12 for our next meeting.
Do you have an idea for a coalition name? So far we have received the following:
Franklin SAFE (Support for Addicts and Families by Empowerment)
Franklin Against Drugs
Franklin Against Opioids
Please continue to pass along any ideas or suggestions.
Vowing to change the way the Commonwealth treats and even thinks about substance addiction, Governor Charlie Baker released the findings of his Opioid Working Group, a comprehensive report detailing 65 actionable steps to curb the deadly opioid epidemic. You can view the report by clicking here. The findings by the 18-member Working Group include short and long term action items to be implemented between now and the next three years, some requiring legislative action and funding and some will be achieved through partnerships with private industry and federal leaders. The announcement comes just days after the launch of a statewide public service campaign to alert parents about the dangers of prescription opioid misuse by their kids. You can link to the campaign by clicking here.
Did you know?
By 2009, drug overdose deaths outnumbered deaths due to motor vehicle crashes for the first time in the U.S. Prescription drugs, especially opioid analgesics, have been increasingly involved in drug overdose deaths. Click here and here for more details.
Karen Courtemanche shared this great information for the coalition: I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone that spoke at our first of many meetings of the Opioid Abuse Coalition. We have a great team of resources that seems to keep growing. I feel very committed to this coalition and I also feel that our voices were heard last Tuesday night loud and clear. We have a long road ahead of us but we are off to a great start. Here is a great group to join on Facebook for support TAM Massachusetts State Chapter ~ "The Addicts Mom". It's resourceful and comforting! Naloxone (Narcan) is available at any pharmacy; you don't need a prescription any more (I personally went to CVS in Franklin and purchased one and had no problem). Get the Nasal one it is covered under insurance, if you don't have insurance it's only $20.00. Here is a video to show you how to use it and when:
Emergency Rooms...if you have a loved one, and you feel they are not safe, that they may go out and use that one more time (which we all know~ that isn't good) bring them to the emergency room (again I have done this many many times) The ER will assess and keep them. Be persistent! Reinhard Straub, LICSW, LCDCS was one of the speakers I asked to come Tuesday night. He's a recovering addict himself that has turned his life around in order to help people like us. He told me to give his number to you. He is happy to help in anyway he can and can be reached by phone at 401-949-2220 and fax at 401-949-2262. He has 5 - 6 people that he works closely with to find the right treatments and help. Currently, they are putting together packets for us; as soon as I get them I'll post them. Meanwhile please feel free to contact Reinhard, he is a GREAT resource. He helped me immensely. If you need help reach out! We will make changes for the good, we need to stick together and stay strong. a quote that I thought very appropriate from Derek Getchell...."I CAN'T WE CAN"..... it takes a village.