Check out this article below from Richard K. Lodge of Newburyport Daily News
The head of the state Department of Public Health will join local lawmakers and police chiefs for a roundtable discussion on opiate abuse and addiction Thursday in the Triton Regional High School auditorium.
State Rep. Brad, R-Ipswich, said it will be the fourth panel discussion aimed at parents and students. In 2015, he helped set up a panel at Ipswich High School, followed by Manchester-Essex Regional and Masconomet.
All parents of Triton Regional students will receive a letter of invitation with details about the two-hour discussion. DPH Commissioner Monica Bharel will be among the panelists in the program co-sponsored by Triton Superintendent Brian Forget; Sens. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, and Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester; and state Reps. Jim Kelcourse, R-Amesbury, and Lenny Mirra, R-West Newbury.
“We had wanted to reach out to Triton for a while,” Hill said. “Unfortunately, this problem of opiate addiction continues to be an issue in Essex County. It’s a very important issue and we want to be sure people know there is help out there.”
Among those scheduled to be involved in the program, which runs from 6 to 8 p.m., are Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger and representatives from the Newbury, Rowley and Salisbury police departments.
Hill said Bharel will speak about the state’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and Coppinger will talk about how his department is implementing drug treatment programs. The police chiefs are scheduled to give local statistics and perspective on what parents should be looking for if they are concerned about their children and drugs.
“We want people to know there is help for those who need it,” Hill said. “Whether it’s begun because of opioids or you have an addiction to heroin or fentanyl, this is a very serious problem. My hope is this discussion will allow parents to ask questions.”
In his letter to parents, Hill writes, “Opiate abuse and addiction are claiming the lives of our children and impacting our community in a way that cannot continue. If you or someone you love is struggling with an opiate addiction, you are not alone. We invite and encourage you and your families to attend this invaluable discussion on learning how to keep our children safe and to learn what resources are available to you should you or someone you know need help in battling the disease of addiction,” he writes.