Vineyard Opiate Forum Yields Direction for Tackling Epidemic

ThinkstockPhotos-458248677MARTHA’S VINEYARD – After a community forum addressing the opiate epidemic was held earlier this month, leaders on Martha’s Vineyard are discussing paths to action.

According to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Communications Manager Mary Korba, the forum was attended by nearly 150 people who asked questions of a panel of professionals.

The questions not answered at the forum were sorted through in a follow-up meeting and will be publicly addressed soon, she said.

Almost 80 evaluation forms and 68 action cards were submitted, from which, the action committee has determined the issues that matter most to the community.

Korba said many people have suggested a detox center for the island. But the problem with that has to do with an economy of scale, she said.

“It’s not necessarily an easy thing to do,” she said. “It’s difficult when someone is in crisis and they need help, we don’t have anything on the island.”

Additionally, preventative education was addressed both at the forum and in the additional comments.

The elderly’s involvement with the crisis can also be tragic. Korba said they can sometimes be abused by a younger person in the throes of addiction.

Korba said the working group has been in contact with Safe Coalition of Franklin, Mass. for their planning insights.

“We wanted people to leave the forum with a sense of hope, feeling empowered, informed and knowing we are going to take action in the community,” she said.

An array of social service organizations, health professionals and people in recovery make up the working group.

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