The Ticonderoga Elementary-Middle School cafeteria was on March 8th the venue of a powerful talk from a nationally recognized speaker, Michael Nerney. Known for his passion for saving opiate abusers, Nerney did not mince his words when speaking about how to stop the problem. He is the former director of various institutions including the National Training Institute for Drug and Narcotic Research.
Dubbed “Understanding Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction”, the talk specifically focused on psychopharmacology, relapse prevention, adolescent chemical dependency, and managing violent incidents related to addiction. The presentation was free to the entire public and included refreshments.
According to the Prevention Team Executive Director of Essex County, Douglas Terbeek, most of the drugs that are prescribed in America can be addictive if they are not taken with caution. And Nerney tried to get the message across that the nature of addictions is all in the drugs that are available especially to young people. One can easily get addicted to prescription opiates without even noticing it.
Lots Of Praise
The Prevention Team and other town officials were the recipients of lots of praises from Ticonderoga Town Police Chief, Mark Johns for their contribution to the efforts against the abuse of opiates. Johns pointed out that by doing a direct mailer about the forum using the town’s drug abuse forfeiture account, they reached out to 2,500 homes and businesses. This is one of the things that boosted the attendance.
TINADA, a grassroots group that addresses drug abuse in Ticonderoga, was among the sponsors of the event. The group has been instrumental in fighting opiates in the community.
The event was split into various sections to allow for a smooth process. During the day, there was a session for law enforcement personnel. They interacted with social workers and medical staffers as well as other professionals in related occupations. The other session was for school employees and they received valuable information on how to manage the youngsters that are placed under their care.
Contributing to the forum, Town Supervisor Joseph Giordano challenged the members of the community to set the stage by providing the foundation on which the fight against opiate abuse will progress. The energy for effective progress, according to Giordano, can only be provided by the community which has to come together and decide on the way forward.
He said that it was up to organizations such as TINADA to provide the framework. It is only after they give the framework that the other stakeholders can build on it. This should also involve the field experts as well as their informational resources. His appeal to the audience at the event was that they should recognize that all ingredients are needed in order to make progress in reducing opiate abuse.
Speaker after speaker, it was agreed that only a local solution can save Ticonderoga from the effects of drug abuse. Michael Nerney was impressed by the response from his audience who seemed obviously motivated and inspired to act on the information they received to make their community a better place.