DA Early Brings Together Public Safety and Public Health Officials to Find Common Ground in Fight Against Overdose Epidemic

June 26, 2024

For Immediate Release
Contact: Lindsay Corcoran 508-368-7252 or 774-670-8811

SHREWSBURY – Last Tuesday, public safety and public health professionals met to discuss how best to work together to address the overdose epidemic at an event organized by Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.’s office.

“We have so many good, caring people here who are all in this fight together against this horrible disease,” said Mr. Early. “People view each other from a distance, but let’s use today to come together, put aside our differences, find our common ground and move forward to build safer, healthier communities for all.”

The event featured two speakers from the CT Overdose Response Strategy (ORS) team, Robert Lawlor, a Drug Intelligence Officer from New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (NEHIDTA) and Anna Gasinski, a Public Health Analyst from the CDC Foundation. They talked about their firsthand experience fostering healthy collaboration between public health and public safety agencies.

“We’re all dedicated to addressing the overdose and addiction crisis. We all want to save lives. We just go about it differently,” said Mr. Lawlor. “We need to work together on this problem. And we’re more similar than we realize.”

Mr. Lawlor and Ms. Gasinski walked the nearly 100 attendees through the process of finding those similarities and building upon them to work on projects together.

“Although approaches may differ, the mutual goal is a commitment to their community which provides common ground for collaboration.” said Ms. Gasinski.

The Prevention and Support Network hosted the collaborative meeting last Tuesday at Independence Hall, Veterans Inc.’s treatment facility located in Shrewsbury. Mr. Early thanked Veterans Inc. President and CEO Vincent Perrone and Executive Director Denis Leary for generously agreeing to host the meeting.

The Prevention and Support Network was initially formed by Mr. Early in 2015 as the Opioid Task Force. The name was changed last year to reflect the broader scope of the work that is being done to address all the different root causes and impacts of the overdose crisis, including addressing mental health and trauma.

Anyone can join the Prevention and Support Network and attend upcoming meetings by emailing  info@worcesterda.org .

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