Tewksbury Police Awarded Grants Totaling $17,500 To Battle Drug Abuse
Sep 11, 2014 05:25AM ● Published by Bill Gilman
Police Chief Timothy Sheehan
According to Police Chief Timothy Sheehan, there have been almost 45 drug overdoses in Tewksbury this year.
Beyond the obvious danger for loss-of-life, the number is indicative of a growing drug problem, particular opiates, in the Merrimack Valley. Sheehan has, for several years, highlighted the connection because drug abuse and the local crime rate. Specifically, he says, drug addiction is most often the motive for home and vehicle break-ins and other types of petty theft.
With that in mind, drug abuse prevention and education has been a priority of the Tewksbury Police Department under Sheehan's leadership.
Recently, the department received two grants totaling $17,500 from the Greater Lowell Health Alliance of the Community Health Network Area 10 to be used in those efforts. A $7,500 DoN grant was awarded in June and a $10,000 Substance Use and Prevention Mini-Grant was awarded just last week.
"Our (drug) enforcement effort has been strong and significant but we realize we will not arrest our way out of this epidemic," said Sheehan. "We are confident that the answer lies within collaboration and education and these awards and our partnerships with GLHA, other Town Departments, and all the other non-profits that have taken a stand with us will carry us through this tough time and bring promise for a brighter future.
"I can assure you that we will put these awards to good use and that they will likely save lives."
According to Sheehan, some of the grant money will be used to fund he monthly speaker series the Tewksbury Police Department and Tewksbury Public Library sponsors on drug awareness and the issues that parallel the disease such as post-traumatic stress, attention deficit disorder, depression and mental illness.
Some of the money will also be used to fund the department's 3rd Annual Substance Use Prevention and Education Week (Oct. 19-25).
"As you can imagine, words cannot express how much we appreciate these awards," said Sheehan. "This funding will help us facilitate top notch substance use and abuse education for all populations within our community."
In all, The GLHA of the Community Health Network Area 10 has awarded 10 grants totaling $171,426 to support programs and services to address the increasing issues surrounding substance abuse in the Greater Lowell area. According to GLHA officials, state Rep. Thomas Golden, D-Lowell, was instrumental in procuring the grant money from the state.