On September 26, 2019 at the Southbridge Town Hall at 6 PM in the Town Council Chamber, there will be a panel discussion on the issue of substance abuse. A wide range of professionals will be on hand to discuss important issues such as opioid addiction, vaping, alcoholism, treatment, and education. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
“It is important to educate the citizens of our community as to the dangers of illegal substances. Too many across our state are dying from overdoses. Even vaping adds unique risks to people’s health. As a police officer, I am working hard to protect the lives of our citizens and education is key to saving lives,” said Deputy Police Chief Dingui the Chairman of the advisory committee.
In the first six months of 2019, there were 611 confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths and DPH estimates that there will be an additional 292 to 363 deaths according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health
The popularity of vaping has grown explosively among teenagers over the last five years, even though the legal age for buying vape pens is 18. According to CDC figures, 38% of high schoolers and even 13% of middle schoolers have tried vaping at least once. Vaping can harm your brain and the rest of your body according to Mass.gov.
Many problems also arise from youth consuming alcohol. States with a high rate of youth alcoholism also tend to have higher rates of homicide, suicide, trauma, violent criminal activity, unprotected sex, fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol poisoning and death, and the need for alcohol treatment. Underage drinking costs the state of Massachusetts a lot. In 2010, underage drinking alone cost the state $1.4 billion – costs that included medical treatment, employer’s compensation, and associated issues arising from alcoholism among youth according to Alcoholism Across the nation.
Some of the panelists include Tina Grosowsky Project Coordinator Central MA Tobacco Free Community, Christina Beesley Harrington Healthcare, and Tara Rivera Recovery Coach at Recovery Centers of America. Southbridge Town Manager Ron San Angelo said, “This panel has knowledge of all aspects of substance abuse from treatment, education, and law enforcement”.