By William Tauro
This past Wednesday night,
President Shannon Deyeso and the Medford Lions Club hosted a Narcan and overdose awareness talk at Carroll’s Restaurant that’s located in Medford Square.
Guest speakers Patrol Officer Rory Lockowittz, Lieutenant Joe Casey and K9 Officer Harry MacGilvray of the Medford Police Department and Medford’s Prevention Outreach Manager Penny Funaiole spoke on how they handle overdoses in the city of Medford, the use of Narcan and the drug infestation problems within surrendering cities and town and how they are battling this serious growing problem.
Members of Somerville Overcoming Addiction, MOAR Program, members of the Somerville Lions Club, Boston Chinatown Lions and Malden Lions were in attendance observing the much needed interesting spread of awareness that helped all attendees to get more educated and learned by a wealth of information that was discussed that evening and helped all of us to better understand the growing problems and the need to help defeat it
Awareness is one of the biggest key factors in battling this serious problem that has to be taken more seriously and most important it has to be defeated to save our youth!
Since 2015, Former Medford Mayor Mike McGlynn appointed Penelope Funaiole as the City’s first Prevention and Outreach Coordinator effective September 28th of 2015.
Ms. Funaiole has previously held the positions of Underage Drinking Prevention Coordinator and Mystic Valley Regional Opioid Abuse Prevention Coordinator for the City. She served a key role in the progress the Health Department has made in prevention through the “Team Medford” initiative.
Through his work as co-chair of the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s Opioid Task Force, Mayor McGlynn recognized the need for a new position in the City’s Health Department to focus on prevention, intervention, and treatment of substance use disorder. Ms. Funaiole works closely with the schools and other community organizations on primary prevention, preventing first use of drugs.
In addition she works closely with the Police and Fire departments as well as partner with Armstrong Ambulance to create systems for intervention, such as reaching out to persons using opioids within the City.
She also helps support programs for individuals to get connected to treatment and for those in recovery.
The City of Medford and the organization “Medford Overcoming Addiction” held a vigil last March, which clearly expressed the outpouring of community concern and support to take a leadership role in the prevention of opioid use. Last June the City Council approved an ordinance to create this new position of Prevention and Outreach Coordinator. The City of Medford has now moved forward to build systems that will help combat the opioid epidemic that Massachusetts is facing. The City of Medford cares for its citizens and wants to do everything in its power to keep the people safe and healthy.