Tewksbury’s Substance Use Prevention And Education Week Schedule Of Events
Oct 18, 2015 09:19AM
By Bill Gilman
(Editor's note: The following information was submitted by the Tewksbury Police Department.)
As the Town of Tewksbury continues to face and fight the increasing indiscriminate substance abuse epidemic within our community (56 overdoses and seven related deaths since January 1st, 2015), we feel that raising public awareness is a crucial weapon in that battle. Opioid abuse is viewed as the largest and fastest growing drug problem in Massachusetts and we aim to provide our community with a level of education that will afford an ounce of prevention and some promise for a better future. The Tewksbury Police Department is working collaboratively with various Town departments and local organizations to develop and arrange for programing that will further increase the education and awareness levels. The Tewksbury Police Department, Tewksbury Board of Health, Tewksbury CARES, Tewksbury School Department, Tewksbury Public Library, Greater Lowell Health Alliance, Lahey Behavioral Health, Lowell Community Health Center, and Learn to Cope have committed to taking a stand together against the substance abuse problem in Tewksbury.
The Board of Selectmen has committed their support to declaring the week of October 18th “Substance Use Prevention and Education Week 2015”. Throughout this week, we will be working with our partners to provide much needed educational programs to our student population. The Tewksbury Police Department feels that it is not only important to target the student population during this week but also their parents and all residents of Tewksbury and the surrounding communities. Additionally, the Police Department, in cooperation with the Tewksbury Education Foundation, will run contests for all Tewksbury Public School students in grades K-12 to complement the educational programs. The students in grades K-4 will be working on a “Healthy Me” poster contest, grades 5-8 will write an essay about the healthy ways they deal with the pressures they face daily, and the high school students will be asked to do a 90 second public service announcement about prescription drug abuse. These contests are part of the Tewksbury Police Departments public awareness initiative in hopes of further educating our students about healthy decisions and to warn teens about the devastating consequences of prescription drug abuse.
This is our fourth year undertaking this endeavor and it is our hope that these events and the declaration “Substance Use Prevention and Education Week 2015” will continue annually until we turn the tides on this modern day plague. We realize we will not arrest our way out of this epidemic and that the answer lies within collaboration and education. We are very fortunate to have been blessed with the Circle Health Ball Grant (Lowell General Hospital) totaling $8,622 and an additional $5,000 from the GLHA Substance Abuse Prevention Regional Grant received by Lowell Community Health Center to assist us with our education efforts.
Tewksbury’s 2015 Substance Use Prevention and Education Week (programs open to the public)
October 18, 6:30 PM, Candle Light Vigil: Lahey Behavioral Health and Tewksbury Police Department will host a vigil in remembrance of those who’ve died as a result of drug addiction, as well as for those loved ones who are in recovery and mourning. Tewksbury State Hospital, 365 East Street, Tewksbury. Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to all.
October 20, 11-12PM, Proper Medication Disposal: Education for proper medication disposal and why it is so important to our communities. Tewksbury Senior Center, 175 Chandler Street, Tewksbury. Light refreshments to be served. This event is free and open to all.
October 20, 6PM, Parenting for Prevention: A program designed for parents and caregivers of children in grades K-12. The program is facilitated by professionals in the field of addiction treatment. The program objectives are to provide information on the effects and consequences of gateway drugs and other drug trends, empower parents with effective communication skills when talking with their children about alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, to review the importance of establishing clear rules and consequences at home regarding substance use, and to evaluate resiliency factors that help protect kids from substance use, and local resources should parents require addiction support. John F. Ryan Elementary School Library, 135 Pleasant Street, Tewksbury. Light refreshments will be served. This forum is free and open to all.
October 26, 6PM, Parent Education: Substance Abuse Prevention 101 -Nursing students from the University of Massachusetts Lowell present the serious health issue of alcohol and other drug abuse in our communities. Tewksbury Public Library, 300 Chandler Street, Tewksbury. Light refreshments to be served. This event is free and open to all.
Hidden in Plain Sight: The exhibit and presentation is a collaboration of the high school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and the Police Department in educating the community’s parents and adults in order to prevent risky behaviors by young people. The exhibit appears to be at first glance the bedroom of the average teenager. Visitors will learn, though, that amidst the clutter of clothing scattered on the floor, school supplies on a desk, and personal care products on a vanity are items that can actually be signals that a young person could be involved in risky, dangerous, and even illegal activity. This exhibit will be on display a half hour before the evening presentations on the 20th and 26th. This event is free and open to all.
To learn more about the programs schedule for this week or to get involved, please contact Program Director Maria Ruggiero at (978) 851-7373, EXT 352.