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‘Loving Your Recovery’ event in Athol Saturday

  • McLaughlin



Recorder Staff
Wednesday, February 07, 2018

ATHOL — The Opioid Task Force, North Quabbin Community Coalition, and the North Quabbin Recovery Center, which hasn’t yet officially opened, want those struggling with addiction to know they’re not alone, and that there’s a path to recovery, one that has been walked by others many times before.

On Saturday, a cohort of community organizations will be on hand for a free community event, “Loving Your Recovery,” designed to connect community members with local support agencies.

“It’s going to be fun, family friendly, and it’s free,” said Debra L. McLaughlin, coordinator for the Opioid Task Force overseeing the Franklin County and North Quabbin regions. The event will be held this Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Town Hall, 584 Main St., and will feature crafts, music by DJ Lumphy and bags filled with items donated by the North Quabbin Community Coalition, Heywood Hospital, Quabbin Retreat Clinical and Support Options (CSO), Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region, Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, Mass. Health Promotion Clearinghouse and Badger Balm.

Its purpose is to “increase community awareness about recovery — that recovery is possible, and that recovery works,” McLaughlin said, noting everyone is welcome, not just those directly impacted by addiction.

“Back in 2013, community leaders found that Franklin County, as the only rural county in the region, was at the epicenter of the opioid crises,” McLaughlin said, explaining that officials “marshaled a lot of community resources to look at this issue” resulting in “a very concentrated effort to reduce the amount of fatal overdoses, and we are seeing an encouraging downward trend.”

“This event is part of a series the opioid task force has been sponsoring, the third,” she continued. Previously, the Opioid Task Force has held similar events in Greenfield at the Second Congregational Church and the public library. “We’re hoping to do another in the spring in (western Franklin County).”

Hosting the event along with the task force will be the North Quabbin Recovery Center, a community support center for those in recovery, set to open in the Pequoig building soon. “There are probably about 30 people involved, both who have lived experience and are allies,” McLaughlin said, specifically commending the efforts of Jaime Woods Heather Bialecki-Canning of the North Quabbin Community Coalition to get the program off the ground.

So far, the organizations that have confirmed they’ll be at Saturday’s event to answer questions, pass out information, and offer support to community members are the Athol Area YMCA, Athol Hospital and Heywood Healthcare, Center for Human Development, CleanSlate, Clinical and Support Options, GAAMHA and AED Foundation, North Quabbin Community Coalition and the North Quabbin Recovery Center.

For more information, emailinfo@opioidtaskforce.org, or call 413-775-7474.