Opioid Use and Abuse forum: Video and highlights (Updated)

by beth on February 2, 2016

Above: Opioid Use and Abuse: Addressing the Crisis (Posted to YouTube by Northborough Access Cable)

At a public forum, Southborough Police Chief Kenneth Paulhus was among the experts who addressed the effects of drugs on youth and crime. The focus of the evening was the danger that could be found in your own medicine cabinet.

Speakers shared their experiences and statistics on the rampant abuse of prescription pain killers and the gateway to heroin use.

Paulhus told the audience that the heroin abuse problem doesn’t have a zip code anymore. He explained the effect it’s having on Southborough:

We’re seeing it, I don’t know on a daily basis, but certainly on a weekly basis, how it’s effecting the community.

In the two years he’s been in Southborough, his department has seen two overdose deaths and assisted in six Narcan saves. They’ve found that most B&Es are rooted in drug use. And they’re seeing effects on the families with young adult addicts with problems still living at home:

You have a lot of adults living in a house and its causing all sorts of problems.

The Opiod Use and Abuse forum was sponsored by state legislators and Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.. Southborough Wicked Local covered highlights from the talk.

What I personally found most disturbing was statistics on experimentation by youth under 15 years old:

Each day in America, 2,500 teens use prescription pills to get high recreationally for the first time. Of that group, 60 percent who abuse pain relievers are younger than 15. When pain relievers prove too expensive, or too hard to get, many find the same high in a bag of heroin, Early said.

You can watch it yourself in the above video posted this week by NCAT.

If you don’t have the time, here are some more SWL highlights: 

[Early] said Worcester County logged at least 106 overdoses last year, though the number will likely rise as more data becomes available. More than 80 percent of heroin users switched to the drug after first taking prescription drugs, Early said. . .

During his time as a police officer, Southborough Police Chief Kenneth Paulhus said he has seen the profile of a typical heroin user shift from a drug-addled junkie in a rooming house to young adults with stable, supportive families — including one he coached on the basketball court years earlier. . .

Charles Faris, president and CEO of Spectrum Health Systems, said the rise in the number of prescriptions being written over the last 20 years directly parallels an increase in heroin use. He said the upside of the current focus on the problem is an increasing recognition that addiction is a disease, and must be managed with lifestyle changes.

For the full story, click here.

Updated (2/2/16 10:00 am): I wasn’t finished watching the video when I decided to share. Here’s another disturbing highlight that is compelling for anyone with children or teens:

An Algonquin alumni and former drug abuser said his prescription abuse began with percocet prescribed when wisdom teeth removed. Describing himself and peers at Algonquin in ’04-’05:

We literally knew every kid in Algonquin that were getting their teeth out and who was going to have a scrip then and who was going to have a scrip in a couple weeks. . .

we were breaking them up and sniffing them

1 SB Resident February 2, 2016 at 11:13 AM
2 Former Townie February 3, 2016 at 8:15 AM

Thank you so much for posting the video of this meeting. Everyone from Northborough and Southborough should watch this – it affects everyone of us in one way or another. Very informative.

3 Prescription Abuse February 3, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Regarding your update….Prescription abuse is a HUGE gateway….my 24 year old nephews funeral is tomorrow. He was in a car accident in high school….oxy for the back pain lead to casket for his body. Wake up people!

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