Northern Berkshire has been knitting together a wide array of agencies and organizations to combat an opioid epidemic that's devastated communities. Its leaders, including Mayor Richard Alcombright, have played a prominent role in working groups both regionally and statewide addressing addiction and recovery.
It wasn't long ago when a young man came to the Brien Center looking for help after he had overdosed on heroin.
Dr. Jennifer Michaels, the center's medical director, got him into sober housing, meetings, and family support. He "did all the things he needed to do."
The first public engagement session about a needle exchange program is scheduled for Tuesday.
The city is considering authorizing a needle exchange program to operate in the city and the Board of Health was close to voting to give that authorization last month. But, the board decided to hold off and in conjunction with the mayor's office launch a series of public sessions to gain additional feedback and inform citizens about the program.
Yes. This is the world we live in.
The School Committee on Thursday approved having a Narcan kit in the nurses office just in case an adult in the school overdoses on heroin. The kit is being provided by the District Attorney's office and schools throughout Berkshire County are receiving kits.
At the request of the mayor and City Council, the Board of Health has put the brakes on the opening of a needle exchange program.
Just one month ago the board was ready and planning to vote in favor of giving the authorization to allow Tapestry Health to pursue opening one somewhere in the city in tandem with the state Department of Public Health.
The nonprofit health agency was given approval on Monday night by the Redevelopment Authority to operate out of 6 West Main St., a building owned by the city and formerly used by the School Department. It received approval from the Board of Health in June.
The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition is sponsoring a forum on marijuana and substance abuse on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 6 p.m. at Massachusetts college of Liberal Arts' Church Street Center.
The event is free and open to the public; pizza will be served at 5:45 p.m.
The purpose of the training was to increase familiarity with the recently launched MassPAT tool that replaces the old Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), which was cumbersome and not user friendly. The new system is easier to use, includes the ability to eventually search records in other states, as well as provides more information to help providers make the proper decisions for patient care.
Throughout Berkshire County 105 people went to the hospital after overdosing.
That's on pace for more than 300 in a year. Last year there were 158, a sharp increase from the average of 40 to 60 in 2011 through 2013. There was 36 deaths in 2015 from overdose and so from in Pittsfield alone there have been nine. A total of 36 out of 800 babies born this year have been exposed to opioids while in utero.
The showing in the Koussevitzky Arts Center is free and open to the public. The event begins at 5 p.m. with brief remarks; a panel discussion about current efforts to reduce the drug problem in Berkshire County will follow the 77-minute film. It is expected to conclude by 7:45 p.m.
The Public Safety Committee will take up a resolution calling for a local detoxification center in light of how the opiod epidemic has been affecting the city's residents.
The resolution was brought forward Tuesday by council President Benjamin Lamb on behalf of the North County Cares Coalition, a group that has been advocating for better access to health care and the restoration of a full-service hospital.
Berkshire Medical Center is taking the first steps in providing local comprehensive after-care for patients struggling with addiction.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has approved the proposal by BMC to create a new 30-bed unit to improve long-term recovery. The Clinical Stabilization Services center will be created on the first floor of the Edward A. Jones Memorial Building, which also contains the the McGee Recovery Center.