Senator Jason Lewis to Host Forum on Substance Abuse and Opioid Addiction

Continuing his “Community Conversations” issue discussions, Senator Jason Lewis is excited to announce the fifth forum in the series, which will focus on the latest developments at the state, regional, and local levels to combat substance abuse and opioid addiction in our communities.  “Community Conversations” are issue discussions that are being held in each community of the district.  Each forum features a different topic, with ample opportunity for residents to share feedback and have their questions answered by experts on the given topic.

This upcoming event – Community Conversations: Combating Substance Abuse and Opioid Addiction in Our Communities – will take place on Thursday, December 3, at 6:00pm.  It will occur at the Performing Arts Center at Reading Memorial High School, located at 62 Oakland Road in Reading.

This forum will offer the chance to hear directly from policymakers and advocates on the issues at hand.  Featured presenters will include: Massachusetts’ Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, state Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan, Mystic Valley Regional Opiate Abuse Prevention Coordinator Penny Funaiole, and Erica McNamara, Director of the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse.  There will be ample opportunity for Q&A from audience members.

“Substance abuse and opioid addiction in our communities is a tragedy playing out in real-time, but it is heartening that everyone from the Governor to the Attorney General to state legislators to community leaders have made this issue a top priority.  This forum will be an opportunity to hear about the latest developments on these many efforts,” said Senator Jason Lewis.  “The conversations I have directly with constituents across the district are the best source of information and guidance to help me do my job in the legislature.  I’m excited about the ‘Community Conversations’ series as each forum provides us with a good opportunity to engage in a substantive dialogue on a timely and important topic.”

The forum is sponsored by Senator Lewis in coordination with Reading Town Manager Bob LeLacheur, State Representatives Bradley Jones and James Dwyer, and community-based partnerships and coalitions from across the 5th Middlesex district that are working to combat substance abuse, including Malden Community Health Improvement, Melrose Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse, Stoneham Substance Abuse Coalition, Wakefield Unified Prevention, and Winchester Coalition for a Safer Community.

“Countless families in our region and across Massachusetts have been touched by the havoc wreaked by substance abuse,” said Reading Town Manager Bob LeLacheur.  “We welcome this important conversation regarding how we can more proactively combat these ills and prevent addiction and loss in the future.”

“Community Conversations” forums held earlier this year included: a lively discussion in Malden in April on what would be involved in a Boston-hosted Olympic Games and what impact it would have on our communities north of Boston; an informative presentation in Melrose in May on demystifying our state budget; an enlightening panel discussion in Wakefield in June on public transportation that featured the General Managers of the MBTA and Keolis Commuter Services; and, a forum last month in Winchester on energy policy and environmental priorities for the region and the Commonwealth.  A “Community Conversation” event to take place in Stoneham will be announced in the weeks ahead.