30 Days of Awareness

During the Academy program days, while meeting with municipal, public safety, and health and human services leaders in every MetroWest community, when the class of 2017 asked about the most pressing challenge they faced, they heard from each that the opioid crisis was the most urgent. The class decided that joining the fight against this ever-spreading crisis would be their class project. The“30 days of awareness” social media campaign began on May 1st and for 30 days brought awareness and information about four overarching themes: the scope of the crisis, who is impacted, prevention and treatment, and recovery strategies. The information was shared each day for a month on the LMW Facebook and Twitter pages. Below is a consolidation of the daily posts.


The Opioid epidemic in MA is one of the worst in the country. Awareness is key to winning the battle. http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/quality/drugcontrol/county-level-pmp/ser-ma-drug-od-deaths-2016.pdf

Opioid isn’t just heroin. More than likely at least 1 person you know has been prescribed an opioid and taken them in the last year. http://odprevention.org/what-is-an-opioid/

The new face of heroin is young, white, and suburban.  Hear their stories. http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/stop-addiction/state-without-stigma/their-stories.html

Every time you share the post of that guy who ran naked high on crack through the streets, you are sharing the stigma. http://wickedsober.com/stop-sharing-stigma/

The opioid crisis costs more than just the addicts and their families. It costs us all. https://premierbiotech.com/innovation/infographic/

Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong. https://www.ted.com/talks/johann_hari_everything_you_think_you_know_about_addiction_is_wrong

Nearly 2 / 3 of teens who abuse pain relievers within the past year say they get them from family members and friends. http://dropthemoff.com/

The Opioid Crisis – Who does it affect? Learn to Cope is a non-profit support network for families dealing with addiction and recovery.  Visit http://www.learn2cope.org/ to see how they can help you or someone you love.

Conversations are one of the most powerful tools parents can use to connect with — and protect — their kids. http://drugfree.org/article/prevention-tips-for-every-age/

Legislators NEED to know about your story, contact them today about helping the opioid epidemic. https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Detail/S52/189/About

Whether you’re a parent, relative, youth or community member, acknowledging the issue of prescription medication misuse and abuse is a crucial step to raising awareness and addressing the problem. You can use the teen-targeted Above the Influence Toolkit with kids aged 12-17 in community settings to build their confidence and prevent risk-taking behaviors. http://partners.atipartnerships.com/2014/10/new-above-the-influence-toolkit/

Get help talking with teens about prescription drug abuse – Above the Influence Toolkit http://bit.ly/2oSo6ki

Read your way to recovery. http://www.michaelshouse.com/blog/books-that-empower-opiate-addiction-recovery/

Fatal overdose rate among VA patients is nearly double the national average. http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/01/18/rising-use-opioid-painkillers-and-efforts-curb-them-may-lead.html#.WPVSZZsmFbk.email

You’ll never guess how many prescription drugs contain opium derivatives. That’s right, the same narcotic that is causing the opioid crisis may be sitting in your medicine cabinet. Check this list and learn how to work with your doctor to safely manage your pain. http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/narcotic-pain-medications#1

A list of local clinicians who can help with mental health and behavioral health needs. http://helpline-online.com/

Grandparents rise to the occasion: caring for grandchildren whose parents are addicted.

According to the office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan:  Approximately 34,000 grandparents in Massachusetts are raising grandchildren. According to a survey conducted by the Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Children, 80 percent of these cases are because of opioid use or the opioid-related death of a son or daughter.

Grandparents can learn more, find resources, have questions answers, and connect with other grandparents and experts through the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Commission and their website: http://www.massgrg.com/

Opioid addiction can raise a host of legal issues for families and loved ones to grapple with.  From divorce and child custody issues to insurance coverage questions to potential criminal law consequences, the fallout from opiate addiction can present many different legal challenges.

But where does one turn when in need of legal help?  Massachusetts and MetroWest in particular, have a number of resources that can help someone find a qualified and experienced attorney, including:

MetroWest Legal Services http://www.mwlegal.org/work/family-law

The Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts http://www.clcm.org/

The Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee http://mhlacorg

The Massachusetts Bar Association http://www.masslawhelp.com/

MORE info with MOAR: http://www.moar-recovery.org/resources

Take Note:  Opioid Epidemic Affects Seniors, too! “As the opioid epidemic attracts increasing attention, one affected population is glaringly absent from the discussion – seniors.” Did you know that as many as “26 percent of older adults misuse, abuse and are dependent on prescription medication”.   Learn more about how and why they become addicted plus some local resources in this newspaper article. http://saugus.wickedlocal.com/news/20160218/senior-opioid-addiction-growing-problem-in-saugus-region


Addiction has taken a harsh toll on Massachusetts’ children http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/01/new_program_to_help_children_a.html


Don’t allow the regrets of “if only I knew” to be the final marker in your life.” From If Only, Best Awareness Movie 2015, produced by James Wahlberg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SHpMHVUl-E&t=9s


What should you ask your doctor, dentist or other health care provider when they prescribe you a pain medication? Here are three simple questions and what you need to know. Scroll down to the bottom of the article for a printable checklist to bring with you to your next appointment. https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm529517.htm


There are many roads to recovery – many places for help.  Choose a road that’s right for you.


The opioid epidemic impacts all of us.  Our first responders see these impacts on a daily basis and are working to meet the challenge.  Like many area communities, the Town of Natick is taking a proactive approach to the crisis and has created an Opioid Task Force of municipal representatives.  Lt. Cara Rossi and Katie Sugarman, of the Task Force, provide regular in-service training to Police and Fire Department staff. Opioid Overdose: A DIY guide to Saving a Life.  http://www.natickma.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/3770 http://www.natickma.gov/1337/Natick-Tackles-Opioid-Crisis


The misuse of opioids—whether illegal opioids such as heroin, or prescription drugs that contain an opioid—is a major preventable cause of overdose and death in the United States. Many cities and towns across the country are struggling to address opioid misuse and its related consequences.

The Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can help communities and coalitions address this problem. This website provides specific guidance for applying the SPF process to the prevention of opioid misuse and prevention of opioid overdoses. http://masstapp.edc.org/massachusetts-opioid-abuse-prevention-collaborative-guidance-document


Where to turn in your town – local MetroWest resources for opioid addiction https://interface.williamjames.edu/community/natick https://interface.williamjames.edu/community/framingham