As we try to endure the coronavirus pandemic it is difficult to think that there are other problems that we continue to work against, but… there indeed are. One of these issues is opioid addiction, and what is being referred to as the “Fourth Wave of the Opioid Epidemic.”

To remind us that this massive problem still exists, Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington’s office and the Berkshire Opioid Addiction Prevention Collaborative are presenting a livestreamed Zoom event on the Berkshire District Attorney’s Facebook page entitled “Fourth Wave of the Opioid Epidemic: Polysubstance Use.”

The following is especially important information obtained by a press release from the District Attorney’s Office (Also see the information below to join the Zoom event Wednesday):

Federal law enforcement and medical experts have warned local municipalities to prepare for the “The Fourth Wave” of the opioid epidemic. “The Fourth Wave” signals the rise of stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine alongside ever-present opioids. Every part of our community has grappled with the impacts of problem drug use.

Federal law enforcement agencies have warned that the flow of illegal drugs into our community will continue to rise and are encouraging municipalities to prepare for “The Fourth Wave” by addressing the demand for illegal drugs.

Before COVID-19, researchers estimated that six percent of Berkshire County residents are addicted to opioids. Local law enforcement agencies have indicated that they are seeing increases in drug overdoses believed to be a result of the stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office and the Berkshire Opioid Addiction Prevention Collaborative is hosting a virtual presentation from Dr. Daniel Ciccarone of the University of California detailing his street-based research and evidence-based interventions to problem drug use.

District Attorney Andrea Harrington is moderating the discussion featuring Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, professor, and physician at UCSF, Drug and Alcohol Counselor Christopher Maschino, Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity Neighborhood Revitalization Director Dubois Thomas, Syringe Access Program Manager North Adams Tapestry Samantha Kendall, Healthy Steps Harm Reduction Supervisor Sarah DeJesus, Berkshire Opioid Addiction Prevention Collaborative Coordinator Jennifer Kimball and Cheshire Police Officer and NBEMS Paramedic Amalio Jusino on Wednesday, August 26 at 6 p.m.

The presentation is on Zoom and livestreamed on the Berkshire District Attorney’s Facebook page @BerkshireDA – and YouTube channel – Berkshire District Attorney’s Office.

The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office embraces the evidence-based harm reduction approach to address substance use in Berkshire County.

We continue to be concerned that increased stress, a tanking economy, and the unraveling of the social service safety net resulting from the pandemic will worsen our drug problem… The punitive War on Drugs model damaged vulnerable families, furthered social inequity, and has failed to make our community safer. This is a must-see presentation and discussion for everyone in our community who has been impacted by and/or wants real solutions to problem drug use ~ Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington

Those who register and join through Zoom can pose questions during the event.
Follow this link to register:

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