BOSTON – Friday, September 21, 2018 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that next Wednesday, September 26, 2018, he will participate in a discussion about the national and personal toll of the opioid epidemic with authors Sam Quinones and Maureen Cavanagh. The event is free and open to the public, and will be held at Old South Church from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The discussion will culminate the Mayor’s Recovery Month Book Club, an initiative of the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and Office of Recovery Services, in partnership with RIZE Massachusetts, which encourages Bostonians to read books that focus on substance use and addiction, in recognition of September as National Recovery Month.

“Recovery Month is an opportunity for our city to have crucial conversations about substance use disorders,” said Mayor Walsh. “The Mayor’s Recovery Month Book Club is about bringing our community together to better understand the opioid epidemic, fight the stigma of addiction, and inspire hope for recovery.”

“The Recovery Month Book Club is a continuation of our commitment to work across all City of Boston departments to help promote substance use awareness and fight stigma,” said Jennifer Tracey, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services. “This partnership recognizes the ways in which creative expression has the power to connect and help heal communities.”

Two titles were selected as the focus of the Book Club:

• “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” by Sam Quinones

Sam Quinones is a journalist, storyteller, former LA Times reporter, and author of three acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction. He lived for 10 years as a freelance writer in Mexico, where he wrote his first two books. In 2004, he returned to the United States to work for the LA Times, covering immigration, drug trafficking, neighborhood stories, and gangs. Dreamland, his most recent book, was selected as one of‘s Best Books of the Year 2015, a finalist in the LA Times Book Prize, and Boston’s Globes Best Books of 2015.

• “If You Love Me: A Mother’s Journey Through Her Daughter’s Opioid Addiction” by Maureen Cavanagh

Maureen Cavanagh is the founder and President of Magnolia New Beginnings, Inc., as well as the President of Magnolia Consulting Services. She founded Magnolia New Beginnings in 2012 hoping to give opportunities to those struggling to reach their full potential. Within a short time of incorporating, Maureen discovered that her daughter had a substance use disorder. She is currently on various Massachusetts task forces, chapter lead for Young People in Recovery Boston chapter, and on the parent advocacy committee for Facing Addiction and subcommittee to end the stigma through changing the language around substance use disorder. Her book If You Love Me was published in early September 2018.

As part of the initiative, the Boston Public Library has provided:

• Unlimited access to ebooks of “Dreamland,” and increased access to ebooks and audiobooks of “If You Love Me”

• Additional hard copies of both books at neighborhood branches

• Nine book discussion groups at local branches

• An additional list of suggested titles focused on addiction and recovery

• Resources related to harm reduction and access to care services

“Language and writing can help us understand the many experiences of addiction and recovery and help us relate to one another,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture. “We are excited to see different communities come together to tackle the issues of substance use and addiction in Boston.”

“Learning more and talking openly about the magnitude and impact of the opioid epidemic will help us work together to reduce the stigma associated with opioid use disorder,” said Julie Burns, executive director of RIZE Massachusetts. “We are fortunate to have Mayor Walsh as a partner in meeting the opioid epidemic head-on, not only with this event, but also through his continued work increasing access to treatment and recovery.”

About the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services

The Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services (ORS), created by Mayor Walsh in 2015, is the first municipal recovery office in the United States. The office utilizes a highly localized, collaborative approach to actively address substance use and addiction in Boston’s neighborhoods. Working in tandem with all City of Boston departments, ORS builds unique partnerships with State & Federal entities, local service providers, and the recovery community to coordinate citywide recovery strategies.

About the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture’s mission is to support artists, the cultural sector, and to promote access to the arts for all. The office houses the Boston Cultural Council, the Boston Art Commission, and the Poet Laureate program. Responsibilities include implementing the City’s cultural plan, Boston Creates; commissioning public art, managing the Boston Artist-in-Residence program; curating exhibitions in City Hall; and operating the historic Strand Theater in Dorchester. For more information go to:

About RIZE

RIZE Massachusetts is a statewide foundation committed to achieving zero stigma and zero deaths related to opioid use disorder by investing in the best solutions and brightest minds that will save lives, reduce harm, and end the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts. For more information, go to

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