In the shadow of COVID-19, the opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc on individuals and families in Massachusetts. An estimated 275,000 people in the commonwealth currently live with opioid use disorder, with about 10% receiving treatment. Tragically, approximately five people die each day in Massachusetts from opioid-related overdose.
“The statistics about opioid use disorder in Massachusetts and the country continue to be alarming, and the isolation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly not helped,” said Roger D. Weiss, MD, chief of the Division of Alcohol, Drugs, and Addiction at McLean Hospital. “We know that people and families are struggling with opioid and other addictions, but we also know that addiction disorders are treatable, and we’re here to help.”
Massachusetts Opioid Screening and Awareness Day
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On Tuesday, September 22, Weiss, along with other experts from across the state will join together in a virtual event supporting Massachusetts Opioid Screening and Awareness Day. Participants will have an option to take an anonymous screening, learn about opioid misuse signs and symptoms, and be able to locate treatment programs in their local area.
“Massachusetts Opioid Screening and Awareness Day will serve as a supportive community initiative to provide the public with opioid screening, teach about signs and symptoms of opioid misuse, and connect those at risk with local resources where they can get potentially lifesaving support and treatment,” explained Douglas G. Jacobs, MD, founder of Fighting Opioid Misuse. Jacobs and Scott G. Weiner, MD, MPH, director of B-CORE: The Brigham Comprehensive Opioid Response and Education Program, have organized the September 22 event.
The Massachusetts Opioid Screening and Awareness Day virtual event—a collaboration between McLean Hospital, Fighting Opioid Misuse, and Brigham Health’s B-CORE Program—is aimed at decreasing the stigma surrounding opioid use disorder and helping individuals recognize that there are resources available in their community to treat this debilitating illness.