DA Early to Host National Health Expert to Discuss Overdose Crisis

February 7, 2024

For Immediate Release

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

WORCESTEROn March 7, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr. is hosting a free event for the public to hear from Dr. Wilson Compton, Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, regarding addiction and rising overdose rates.

Dr. Compton will present on a variety of topics, including the root causes of addiction, the evolving dynamics of polysubstance use, health aspects and their impacts in the criminal justice system, and the state of current National Institutes of Health-backed research projects in Massachusetts.

“It is so important for our community to come together to address the underlying causes and the ongoing issues perpetuating the substance misuse and overdoses that continue to claim the lives of so many of our family, friends, and loved ones,” Mr. Early said. “Dr. Compton is a nationally recognized expert who can lead us in this conversation and help guide us on a path forward that includes less pain, suffering and loss.”

The event on March 7 will include a presentation from Dr. Compton, as well as community resource tables and networking. The networking begins at 5:30 p.m. with Dr. Compton starting his presentation at 6:30 p.m. The event is free, open to the public, and requires no pre-registration. It is being held at Worcester Technical High School, 1 Officer Manny Familia Way, Worcester.

Mr. Early has been passionately committed to addressing the polysubstance use crisis, as well as trauma and mental health. In 2015, he formed the Central Mass. Opioid Task Force, which he renamed last year the Prevention and Support Network. There are more than 700 members in the network. In 2020, Mr. Early launched the Critical Incident Management Systems (CIMS) software for police in Worcester County to track overdose incidents in real-time and then follow-up with survivors to get them into treatment. The office has since received federal grant funding to add recovery coaches to the program and expand drug diversion programs in the county courts. In 2021, we established the Worcester County Drug Endangered Children’s Alliance in an effort to support children who’ve experienced trauma. Federal grant funding was awarded in 2022 to support the expansion of the alliance and the implementation of the Handle With Care programs to schools throughout the county.

For additional information on the March 7 event, please contact Caroline Root at caroline.root@mass.gov or Luke Piers at luke.piers@mass.gov.


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