Berkshire Regional Planning Commission's Health Planner Jennifer Kimball and Police Chief Richard Tarsa were invited to speak at the monthly club meeting on Sunday at the PNA and they fielded questions about drug abuse in the Berkshires.
The Brien Center celebrated the opening of a recovery shelter specifically for women.
The center, in partnership with Berkshire Health Systems, opened the 17-bed center knows as the Keenan House for Women in October on Seymour Street. It will serve women recovering from addiction during the early stages of rehabilitation.
The topic of addiction was identified as one that residents wanted to address during the Coalition's Needs Assessment Forum in September, leading to the conversation with Bianchi and Frank Busener, a reintegration specialist, in November and the screening of "Voices for Recovery: Building a Recovery Community" at the December forum.
Terms like junky, addict, drug abuser, clean versus dirty, carry a negative connotation when it comes to the opioid epidemic.
And that stigma makes it even more challenging to address the nationwide problem, according to Jennifer Michaels, medical director of the Brien Center.
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.
Those 2017 statistics — culled from needs assessment surveys completed by students, hospitals and pediatricians, parents, superintendents and other stakeholders — were presented Monday at the Coalition offices in a news conference that brought many of those stakeholders together to interpret the numbers and discuss new strategies moving forward.
Tapestry's new syringe access program opened in February on West Main Street.
The office is holding an open house for the community from 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday to answer questions and show how the program works.
The decision whether or not to authorize the state to fund a needle exchange program in the city should come next week.
The Board of Health is the authority needed to authorize the program and is expected to take up the topic next Wednesday. Tapestry Health is looking to open one through funding from the state Department of Health to combat the spread of infectious diseases, similar to the one opening in North Adams in the coming months.
The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition sponsored a screening of “Faces: Five Voices from One Community – Addiction and Recovery in North Berkshire” by local videographer Joe Aidonidis at the theater in place of its usual monthly forum in the First Baptist Church.
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.
Dr. Jennifer Michaels says every patient she sees struggling with serious addiction began by smoking marijuana at a young age.
Michaels, the medical director at the Brien Center, joined District Attorney David Capeless Tuesday in a forum at Berkshire Community College urging a no vote on the referendum to legalize marijuana, which will be on the ballot in November. Michaels outlined her belief that the legalization will lead to more issues with addictions while Capeless said public safety wou