Heroin addiction has been a long-standing problem in America and it has most definitely had a vast impact on the state of Massachusetts. Janice Spinney of Bartlett, Massachusetts, is currently organizing a 50-mile relay walk this coming fall throughout the length Carroll County to raise heroin addiction awareness.
Spinney has titled this event “Take a Walk in our Shoes” and it will be held on September 20, 2015. She is a local pharmacist in Carroll County and has witnessed firsthand the effects of heroin addiction on her own family. She said, “I was inspired by [a] seminar down at the Sandwich fairgrounds…I took away from that I really needed to do something to bring awareness to the community.” Spinney hopes that local recovery groups will come to support “Take a Walk in Our Shoes.”
During this meeting in Sandwich, Massachusetts, called “Pathways from Silence to Solutions: Carroll County Tackles Heroin,” law enforcement officials, health care professionals, social workers and even the chief justice of the state Superior Court gathered to discuss how to they could best address this terrible epidemic in their county.
As a pharmacist with knowledge of prescription medications, Spinney has worked to raise awareness of using Suboxone to treat heroin and prescription painkiller addiction to local health care providers.
Jennifer Selfridge, a substance abuse prevention coordinator for the Carroll County Coalition for Public Health, has said, “I think it has the potential to create broader awareness that treatment works and recovery is possible. It’s my belief that when the general public becomes more aware of this that there will be less stigma for those wanting to access treatment services and more advocacy to strengthen and increase the treatment and recovery support services right here in Carroll County.”
The event will take place along a 50-mile stretch from the south end of Carroll County, all the way up Route 16 to the north end. Participants will have rally points every five to 10 miles, where they will pass along a purple relay flag that goes through into primary event site. Spinney wants to invite anyone who has been affected by heroin addiction to attend the walk, whether they have personally struggled with it or if they have a loved one who has struggled with an addiction to heroin.
Conway Police Lt. Chris Mattei said, “It is going to take the cooperation of the entire community to start reversing the trends associated with this very dangerous threat…It will take a three pronged approach to include education, treatment and accountability. We need to educate our young adults regarding the dangers of drug abuse. These talks need to start in the home. We also need to provide meaningful treatment to those who become addicted to these drugs. Finally, those who violate the law need to be held accountable for their actions.”
Over 1,000 people died from opiate overdoses in Massachusetts last year. Additionally, the overall rate of heroin use in the United States has steadily increased since 2007, from a reported 373,000 up to 669,000 in 2012. Massachusetts has been struggling with a major opiate problem for over the last decade and events such as this one can serve as ways to address serious drug addiction issues.
Substance abuse creates chaos not only in the addict’s life, but also within homes and communities on a broader scale. Sovereign Health Group offers addiction treatment for addicts and their loved ones in the form of inpatient and outpatient programs. If you know someone who needs help, reach out to our team at 888-530-4614. Our admissions helpline is open 24/7 and our treatment specialist will assist you in finding the right treatment option to suit your needs.
Written by Benjamin Creekmore, Sovereign Health Group writer