WORCESTER, Mass. —It's just past noon in Worcester, and a familiar scene is about to play out. A young woman, her clothes dirty, walks Main Street for hours, glancing at passing cars, until one pulls over.
MILLBURY - Driving into the parking lot behind the nondescript industrial building at 50 Howe Ave., one would think that, aside from the two security guards, this could just as easily be a trip to the post office or hardware store.
Adults of all ages, dressed for work and going about their business one morning last week, stood politely in line just inside the door, waiting their turn.
Staff at the CSG Justice Center talked to three reentry programs with promising training practices about their experiences developing and delivering training to volunteer mentors.
Training mentors to support the reentry population is not an exact science. For many reentry programs that offer mentoring services, the training of mentors is an ever-evolving process that can unfold in challenging and unexpected ways.
America is in the worst opiate epidemic ever, and our Commonwealth is among the nation’s hardest hit. There were 1,933 confirmed opioid-related deaths in 2016, per the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Put another way, last year opiate addiction claimed the lives of 161 people each month, 37 people each week, and five people each day.
That's one of the messages Chelmsford resident Jodi Tarantino hopes to convey as the new host of Airing Addiction, a weekly radio program on WTAG 580 AM in Worcester.
Tarantino, a licensed social worker and program director of residential services at Spectrum Health System Inc.'s Charles J. Faris Recovery Center in Westboro, said she hopes to destigmatize addiction, treatment and behavioral health in general.
Simply put, the scope of the current opioid epidemic is staggering. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people died from drug overdoses last year than in any year on record. And, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin), has nearly quadrupled since 1999. No community is immune. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently reported that 209 people lost their battle with opioid addiction last year in Worcester County alone. That's 17 people a month or four people each week.