The Board of Health believes it needs to do more to promote public health. The county routinely ranks toward the bottom of the annual community health rankings. There are issues with a high rate of premature death, food insecurity, and children living in poverty. E-cigarette usage among teens is increasing. The rate of marijuana usage among teens is higher than most of the state. Children are more at risk for lead poisoning here than elsewhere.
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.