Addiction in Franklin County
Karen Sims photo 
Paula Sayword looks out from the ledge at Chaco Canyon where she and her partner, Karen Sims, created a funeral ritual for their granddaughter, Ashley Sims, who they raised as a daughter and lost to an accidental heroin overdose in December of 2012.

Poets of Franklin County: Soul Chant

Friday, September 19, 2014

Editor’s note: this is the second in a series of columns by Trish Crapo on poetry that explores aspects of addiction. Readers can find links to her first column on our website: www.recorder.com Ashley Sims died at the age of 22 of an accidental heroin overdose in her Greenfield apartment on Dec. 11, 2012. It was her grandmother Karen Sims’ birthday. Ashley had planned to come to Leyden that night for a celebratory dinner, said Paula Sayword, Sim’s partner and Ashley’s grandmother. “Instead, she was dead on the floor. She didn’t intend to die,” Sayword continued. “We never questioned whether it was on purpose.” Just … 0

Franklin County Opioid Task Force regroups, continues

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

GREENFIELD — The area Opioid Task Force met Tuesday for a look at the big picture of addiction in Franklin County and at reports from subcommittees working in various facets of the community problem. The meeting in the Greenfield Community College drew in the neighborhood of 100 people, with representatives of the Department … 0

Hoop dreams, heroin nightmares

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

GREENFIELD — Chris Herren made it from the midsize coastal city of Fall River to his home team, the Boston Celtics. His path was paved with stints in rehab as he struggled with escalating substance abuse running the gamut from alcohol to cocaine, crystal meth and heroin. From the early promise chronicled in … 0

Prescribers sign on to opiate-monitoring pledge

Sunday, May 11, 2014

As of late last week, 57 Franklin County doctors, nurse practitioners and other prescribers had signed a pledge to minimize the danger of opioid painkillers. The pledge is a short list of best practices worked up by the health care subcommittee of the Opioid Education and Awareness Task … 0

Greenfield Police charge Westfield man with heroin trafficking

Friday, May 9, 2014

GREENFIELD — A simple traffic stop turned into drug trafficking charges for a Westfield man early Friday. Just after midnight, officer Cody Guilbault watched a Lexus SUV roll through a Woodard Road stop sign, and pulled the vehicle … 0

Help is on the way ...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Ultimately, recovery is up to the individual, whether they come to that first step alone or in a jail cell. The next step, readjusting their brains, bodies and habits to sobriety often takes help that advocates say is … 0

Slipping into addiction can be easy, reclaiming your life can be hard

Friday, May 9, 2014

Addiction carries more than the average number of stereotypes. Like most, Christopher Lemay doesn’t really fit those. Lemay, 25, is a Greenfield native and 2007 graduate of Greenfield High School. He was a multi-sport varsity athlete at GHS, … 0

Suboxone can have dangerous, deadly downsides

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Buprenorphine — Suboxone or Subutex — may be as widely diverted and abused as any prescription opioid on the market, although the reasons may be more complicated. Introduced in 2003 as a less dangerous, less abusable alternative to … 0

Narcan: the spritz of life ...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Opioids are among the rare poisons with an easy, fast-acting antidote in case of acute, potentially deadly overdose. Distribution of naloxone hydrochloride, commonly known by the brand name Narcan, may be the most direct harm-reduction strategy in place. … 0

Recovery’s chemical options

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Serenity, who asked that her real name not be used for her family’s sake, started drinking when she was 8 years old. “A family member had sexually abused me and to cope with the pain, I started drinking,” … 0

How Franklin Medical tries to help babies born addicted

Thursday, May 8, 2014

GREENFIELD — Last year, of 460 babies delivered in Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s maternity ward, 22 required close observation for possible drug exposure in the womb and seven needed treatment in the form of morphine to ease withdrawal. … 0

Sharing pain, sparing drugs

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

TURNERS FALLS — Sheila Raye Charles, daughter of soul music legend Ray Charles, spoke Wednesday about her early life and struggles with addiction to an assembly of Turners Falls High School students. Charles and husband Michael Steptoe described … 0

Police: Woman’s heroin habit drove her to steal

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

GREENFIELD — Police say a local woman told them she stole to support her heroin habit after her arrest in connection with several car break-ins. Amanda Richmond, 25, of Deerfield St., was arrested on three counts of breaking … 0

Rehab, recovery programs absent or overwhelmed

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

“Exquisitely plastic” is how Dr. Ruben Baler, a scientist and lecturer for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, describes the human brain. The brain can bounce back from a lot, even heroin. Most of the time. “You want … 0

Pushing recovery: help if you want it or not, from jail, courts

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Some believe the only path to lasting recovery is for the user to hit rock bottom and choose to stop, that recovery can’t be coerced. Others believe that it can at least be prodded. Voluntary or involuntary, most … 0