Tewksbury’s Drug Awareness Week

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As the Town of Tewksbury continues to face and fight the increasing drug epidemic within our Community, the Tewksbury Police Department feels 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 provide an ounce of prevention and some promise for a better future.

The Police Department will be working with various Town Departments and local organizations to provide that education to our resident populations during the week of October 20, 2013.

These Departments are working together to create collaborative programs that further increase the education and awareness levels.

The Tewksbury Police Department, Tewksbury Board of Health, Tewksbury CARES, Tewksbury School Department, Lahey Behavioral Health, Learn to Cope, and Lowell House, Inc. have committed to taking a stand together against the drug problem in Tewksbury.

At the most recent Board of Selectmen’s meeting, the Board voted unanimously to declare the week of October 20th “Tewksbury’s Drug Awareness Week”. To start the week, Tewksbury residents are invited to attend an Overdose Vigil on the State Hospital grounds being organized by Lahey Behavioral Health and the Greater Lowell Substance Abuse Task Force.

This vigil, being held on Sunday, October 20th at 7PM, is in remembrance of those who’ve died as a result of a drug addiction, as well as those loved ones who are in recovery.

This is a regional event, welcoming all communities.

Throughout the week, the Police Department will be working with Tewksbury’s student population and faculty to increase awareness about the important decisions made on a daily basis that affect lives permanently. The art teachers in grades K-4 will be working on a “Healthy Living and Healthy Choices” art project. The Ryan School will have a motivational presentation from former NFL player Cliff Crosby about making hard decisions, believing in themselves, and asking for help when they need it. The Wynn Middle School will see the performance “Dirt”, a one man show about choices, bullying, and drugs. For the Tewksbury Memorial High School students, they will see the documentary “Overtaken” and have a presentation from individuals in the film. The goal of this documentary is to save lives by educating youth on the truth about addiction and the deadly consequences drugs often have.

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. Therefore, the Police Department will be sponsoring a Drug Awareness Night at the Tewksbury Memorial High School on Wednesday, October 23th, at 7PM. Here we will discuss the signs and symptoms of drug abuse, how students are obtaining drugs, and how to get help. Those in attendance will hear from Jodi Barber, a mother determined to educate as many parents as possible about the dangers of drug addiction. On Thursday, October 24th, at 7PM, there will be a showing of “The Anonymous People” at the Tewksbury Memorial High School. The movie is a feature documentary film about the over 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction. For more information about the movie, go to http://manyfaces1voice.org/. Also this week, the Board of Health will be providing education to the senior population at the Tewksbury Senior Center.

Tewksbury’s Drug Awareness Week will end with the DEA’s Drug Takeback Program at the Police Department from 10AM-2PM on Saturday, October 26th.

This education would not be possible without the generosity of the Wynn School PAC, Ryan School PAC, Hannaford, Learn to Cope, WalMart, and private donations.

Additional funding for this program is being provided by the Substance Abuse Task Force Environmental Strategies Working Group through SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. To learn more about the programs schedule for this week or to get involved, please contact Officer Jennie Welch at (978)851-7373, EXT 230.

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