As the Town of Tewksbury continues to face and fight the indiscriminate substance abuse epidemic within the Middlesex County/Greater Lowell area (sixty reported overdoses and two related fatalities since January 1st, 2019 here in Tewksbury alone), we feel that raising public awareness is a crucial weapon in that battle. Opioid abuse is still 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 afford an ounce of prevention and some promise for a better future. The Tewksbury Police Department is working collaboratively with various Town departments and local organizations to develop and arrange for programing that will further increase the education and awareness levels. The Tewksbury Police Department, Tewksbury Board of Health, Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Tewksbury CARES, Tewksbury School Department, Tewksbury Public Library, Tewksbury Education Foundation, Greater Lowell Health Alliance, Beth Israel Lahey Health, Lowell General Hospital and Circle Health, Learn to Cope, and several other community organizations have committed to taking a stand together against the substance abuse problem in Tewksbury.
With the support of both the School Department and the Board of Health, we have requested that the Board of Selectmen declare the month of October as “Substance Use Prevention and Education Month 2019”. Throughout this month, we are excited to be working with the School Department to provide much needed educational programs to our student population. The Tewksbury Police Department feels that it is not only important to target the student population during this month long endeavor but also the adult and senior populations of Tewksbury and the surrounding communities.
This is our eighth year undertaking this endeavor and this year we once again requested the declaration for the entire month. It is our belief that these prevention education events, our outreach and case management program, and the declaration “Substance Use Prevention and Education Month” has made a difference and brought down the number of opioid related fatalities significantly. We will continue this battle until we turn the tides on this modern day plague. All of the communities in the Greater Lowell area have been replicating this Substance Use Prevention and Education initiative in their communities during the month of October and we are excited about the positive feedback and results. We realize we will not arrest our way out of this epidemic and that the answer lies within collaboration and education. Our successes are proof positive.
Tewksbury’s 2018 Substance Use Prevention and Education Month (open to the public)
October 1-31, Combatting Opioids with Narcan: Make an appointment with our Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator, Maria Ruggiero, at (978)851-7373, ext. 352 for free training on the administration of Narcan. Tewksbury Police Department, 918 Main Street, Tewksbury. This event is free and open to all.
October 07, 6:30PM to 8:00PM, Tewksbury Bridge Program Substance Use and Mental Continuum of Care Services Non-Profit Roundtable: Visit us at this Tewksbury Public Library community event to learn about Tewksbury Police Department’s Bridge Program services (Prevention, Substance Use and Mental Health Case Management, Recovery Coach and Transportation Initiative, Domestic Violence Case Management, Narcan training). Tewksbury Public Library, 300 Chandler Street, Tewksbury. This event is free and open to all.
October 13, 6:30 PM-8:30 PM, Overdose Candle Light Vigil: Beth Israel Lahey Health and Tewksbury Police Department will host a vigil in remembrance of those who’ve died as a result of the disease of addiction, as well as for those loved ones who are in recovery and mourning. Tewksbury State Hospital, 365 East Street, Tewksbury. Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to all.
October 15, 6:00 PM, Vaping and E-Cigarettes: The Impact on Our Youth: John F, Ryan Elementary School Cafeteria, 135 Pleasant St, Tewksbury. This event is free and open to all.
October 22, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren!: Approximately 34,000 grandparents in Massachusetts are raising grandchildren. According to a survey conducted by the Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Children, 80 percent of these cases are because of opioid use or the opioid-related death of a son or daughter. Join District Attorney Marian T. Ryan and the Tewksbury Police Department for Coffee and Appetizers. Tewksbury Senior Center, 175 Chandler Street, Tewksbury. This event is free and open to all.
October 26, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, Prescription Drug Take Back: Please bring your unwanted and unused medication to the Tewksbury Police Department for proper medication disposal. Tewksbury Police Department, 918 Main Street, Tewksbury. This event is free and open to all.
October 27, 10:00 AM-1:00 PM, Annual Community Safe Halloween: The Tewksbury Police Department will be hosting the 21st Annual Community Safe Halloween at the Tewksbury Memorial High School, 320 Pleasant Street. There will be games for children to play, face painting, safety demonstrations, raffles as well as arts & craft tables courtesy of local businesses and organizations. In addition, there will be a touch a truck, a police K9 dog show, Drone Unit demonstration, and entertainment along with educational materials to support Substance Use Prevention and Education Month. This event is free and open to all.
October 28, 6:00PM to 7:30PM, Welcome to Tewksbury: Visit us at this Tewksbury Library community event to learn about Tewksbury Police Department’s Bridge Program services (Prevention, Substance Use and Mental Health Case Management, Recovery Coach and Transportation Initiative, Domestic Violence Case Management, Narcan training) Tewksbury Public Library, 300 Chandler Street, Tewksbury. This event is free and open to all.
October 29, 6:00 PM, #communitiestalk with the TMHS Students Town Hall Meeting: Join Tewksbury Memorial High School Students while they express their concerns about underage drinking and other drug use, including vaping. Tewksbury Town Hall, 1009 Main Street, Tewksbury. This event is free and open to all.
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 or Substance Abuse Prevention Collaborative Program Director Maria Ruggiero at (978)851-7373, ext. 352.