Senator Jason Lewis and Organizational Partners to Hold Regional Forum in Reading on Opioid Abuse

Later this month, Senator Jason Lewis, the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse, and the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition will present a regional dialogue on opioid abuse.  Residents of the 5th Middlesex district and neighboring communities are encouraged to attend and share their thoughts and feedback.

The presentation will take place on Thursday, October 23, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, at the Hawkes Field House at Reading Memorial High School, 62 Oakland Road, Reading.

“Opioid addiction in the Commonwealth has reached crisis level, and we need to take aggressive steps to prevent and treat addiction,” said Senator Lewis.  “With no community and no family immune to the reach of this epidemic, it is critically important that we engage all members of our community to be informed and take action.  This forum will be a helpful step in that direction.”

The evening’s agenda will include a panel presentation on the opioid issue from 7:00 to 7:30, followed by a rotating group discussion geared toward action items people can take to combat the opioid epidemic from 7:30 to 8:30, and then concluding from 8:30 to 9:00 with a summary of next steps members of the community can take.  In addition to Senator Lewis, the panel discussion will feature Penelope Funaiole, the Mystic Valley Opioid Abuse Prevention Coordinator, and Erica McNamara, MPH, Director of the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse.

“To fully tackle this crisis, it is critical to have as many voices at the table as possible,” said Funaiole.  “This is a dynamic disease, and it will take dynamic strategies and approaches to make change in our communities.”

“Our coalition leaders look forward to welcoming partners from around the region to our community for a thoughtful discussion on the issues we face in addressing opioid misuse,” said McNamara.

Youth, parents, educators, first responders, healthcare professionals, faith leaders, law enforcement, business professionals, prevention advocates, treatment professionals, individuals in recovery and their family members, community leaders and elected officials, and any member of the public interested in substance abuse prevention should attend.

If you are planning to attend, please RSVP to the Director of the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse, Erica McNamara, MPH, at