Woburn District Court HEAT Program Addresses Substance Abuse At 12th Annual Conference

first_imgWOBURN, MA — Hundreds of leaders in public health and law enforcement came together last month for the 12th Annual Woburn District Court Heroin Education Awareness Task Force (H.E.A.T.) Conference to discuss the latest trends and treatment surrounding substance abuse.On Friday, June 15, attendees gathered at the Hilton Boston/Woburn to learn more about drug use and ways to assist those struggling with addiction. The half-day meeting consisted of experts speaking about substance abuse treatment, prevention and enforcement.The H.E.A.T. program was founded by Vincent J. Piro and Michael P. Higgins, of the probation department of Woburn District Court, the police departments of the seven cities and towns under its jurisdiction: Woburn, Burlington, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Wilmington and Winchester, the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services and the AdCare Educational Institute. The program is designed to educate the public, especially families and friends of those suffering from addiction, about heroin use and abuse trends among young people.“To all the presenters and attendees who joined us for the 12th annual conference, thank you for making this year a success,” Piro said. “Every year, the Woburn District Court and our partner agencies work to provide life saving resources to those in need, and it is through these collaborations that we have been successful.”Over the last few years, overdose deaths have exceeded motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. More than a decade ago, H.E.A.T. recognized the growing problem between painkiller abuse and heroin use, and every year works to call attention to deadly synthetic substances in an effort to prevent addiction and deaths.“The H.E.A.T. program has been at the forefront of these issues for almost 13 years,” Woburn Police Chief Robert Ferullo said. “It is the belief of leaders at Friday’s conference that we must collaborate across agencies to provide education to the public on prevention, treatment for those struggling with addiction, and enforcement of the laws to make a difference in the opioid crisis.”To open the conference, Stephen Wood from Winchester Hospital spoke about the rise in popularity of vaping, new substances that are being taken for recreational use (everything from Morning Glory flower seeds to “Flakka” — a synthetic cathinone that causes a number of symptoms like hallucinations and violent behavior) and potential warning signs that a loved one may be using drugs.Britte McBride, Commissioner of Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, informed attendees about the provisions and regulations that will be in place for the marijuana industry once legalized sales go into effect on July 1, including mandated advertisements to educate consumers and promote safe use of products, stringent security protocols at establishments and testing of products before they go onto the market.Billerica Town Manager John Curran shared his experience with the opioid crisis from a municipal level, using a proactive and reactive approach, while Tewksbury Police Chief Timothy Sheehan spoke about the change in perspective that law enforcement must take to address the opioid epidemic.“We found that we couldn’t arrest our way out of the problem,” Chief Sheehan said. “We were really failing by not going deeper into the issue, and instead just going through the judicial system.”In Tewksbury, the mentality of solely relying on enforcement has been altered and officials are looking at education, collaboration with local agencies and counseling/treatment to address the root of the issue. Additionally, all officers carry Narcan, an opioid reversal drug, to save the lives of those who are overdosing.Michael McLaughlin and Pierce Aliberti, of Stoneham, closed the conference by sharing their experiences and journeys to recovery, thanking those who helped them along the way with resources and support.(NOTE: The above press release is from JGPR.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWilmington Police Attend Heroin Education Awareness Task Force (HEAT) ConferenceIn “Police Log”Woburn District Court H.E.A.T. (Heroin Education Awareness Task Force) Holds 11th Annual ConferenceIn “Government”Wilmington Police Department’s Substance Abuse Efforts Gets Boost From $100,000 Grant & Regional PartnershipIn “Police Log”last_img read more

Houston Grand Opera Raises Nearly 10M Amid Harvey Recovery

first_imgThe Houston Grand Opera has raised nearly $10 million to offset losses blamed on Hurricane Harvey-related flooding last year that swamped its performance venue.The Houston Chronicle reports the Wortham Theater Center should reopen this fall and feature a Sept. 26 concert with Plácido Domingo and Ana María Martínez.The opera relocated to the George R. Brown Convention Center following Harvey with performances in a makeshift theater. Opera officials on Wednesday, during the group’s annual meeting, reported a 10 percent drop in attendance but overall anticipate more funding.The Houston Grand Opera company projects losses of $15 million over three years.HGO’s regular annual operating support is expected to reach $17.2 million this summer. That’s $1.2 million more compared to a year earlier, due to 86 new patrons and trustees. Sharelast_img read more

Increased Attacks on Mosby Reflect Vast Power of FOP

first_imgSean YoesThe trial of Baltimore City police Lt. Brian Rice, the fourth trial (another bench trial) of the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray began earlier this week. So far, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is winless — there has been a mistrial and two acquittals — in her search for justice in the death of Freddie Gray last April, which was ruled a homicide.At the end of the last trial, for Caesar Goodson, the van driver the prosecution accused of delivering the so-called, “rough ride,” which allegedly led to Gray’s ultimate demise, Mosby was seen in the courtroom shaking her head after the, “not guilty,” verdicts of Judge Barry Williams were rendered.Clearly, the pressure to deliver a guilty verdict in one of these trials continues to mount on the State’s Attorney.However, added to Mosby’s burden is the egregious specter of threats on her life.According to WBAL-TV (as reported recently in the AFRO), there has been a litany of threatening emails (the news organization obtained through a Public Information Act request) directed at Mosby and her husband Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby. One anonymous emailer sent a fake news account of Marilyn Mosby’s murder.“Marilyn Mosby was gunned down in cold blood walking into the courthouse. Not one officer came to assist. A police statement simply read, `Sucks to be her.’ Nobody will miss that (expletive),” the account reads.To be clear, I’m not suggesting the cowardly trolls who spew this venom are somehow connected officially or unofficially to the FOP or do I believe the union condones their actions. But, I do believe their bunker mentality and often unwavering position when it comes to plausible charges of police brutality and misconduct gives some cover to those who would unleash this type of hate-filled vitriol or worse.“You are out of your mind,” another emailer wrote. “When the violence starts and they turn their anger on you, maybe the officers will be a little slow to react. You are a cop hater. Marilyn Mosby is nothing but a (expletive) Black Panther (expletive). She should be hung.”The position of FOP unions across the nation is united and unequivocal; either your with us or against us. And indicting police officers for, “fulfilling their duties,” means you’re against us.“Not one of the officers involved in this tragic situation left home in the morning with the anticipation that someone with whom they interacted would not go home that night,” wrote FOP President Gene Ryan in a letter to Mosby, which asked her to recuse herself. The letter was released moments before she announced charges against the six officers. “As tragic as this situation is, none of the officers involved are responsible for the death of Mr. Gray,” Ryan continued. Yet, the fact remains, Gray entered that police wagon last April alive, when he exited his death was imminent.When Mosby announced charges against officers Porter, Nero, Goodson, Rice, White and Miller on May 1, 2015, she launched an almost unprecedented salvo against Baltimore police. In 30 years prior to her action, only five officers had previously been indicted for killing a suspect while on duty in Baltimore, only one was convicted and that conviction was overturned on appeal.Mosby had effectively become Public Enemy Number One of the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge Number Three, and many members of the rank and file and they have acted accordingly ever since.The truth is the Fraternal Order of Police is one of the most powerful political lobbies in the country. And Maryland’s FOP is among the most potent and their Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights is the oldest and most expansive in the nation.And although the Black Lives Matter movement has received significant media coverage in the wake of Ferguson (Michael Brown), Cleveland (Tamir Rice), Staten Island (Eric Garner) and now Freddie Gray, there are millions of Americans still invested in the “traditional” role of American law enforcement rooted historically in the practice of antebellum slave catching. They are emboldened by the fact that no officers were indicted in the cases of Brown, Rice or Garner. And they are enraged by the fact Mosby would even try in the case of Freddie Gray.Sean Yoes is a senior contributor for the AFRO and is host and executive producer of, “First Edition,” which airs Monday through Friday, 5-7 pm on WEAA, 88.9.last_img