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North Adams Part of National Opioid Treatment Study
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
03:39PM / Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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Some of the Voices of Recovery rally participants in City Hall on Tuesday night to hear the mayor proclaim September National Recovery Month in the city.


Mayor Jennifer Macksey reads the recovery proclamation into the record at Tuesday's City Council meeting with Wendy Penner and Richard Alcombright, who informed the council of the city's participation in a national study. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — North Adams is one of more than a dozen communities in Massachusetts, including Pittsfield, that is part of a federal study on opioid prevention and recovery.
"I want to very simply give this council one word to remember tonight, and that is 'heal,'" Richard Alcombright told the City Council on Tuesday. "The city of North Adams is one of 16 communities in the commonwealth that will be benefiting from the Healing Community Study over the next 15 months. ...
"Mayor Macksey is aware and was very supportive of this effort and the opportunities and the resources and the resources that can bring to North Adams and Northern Berkshire."
The "Helping to End Addiction Long-term" Initiative is being undertaken by the National Institutes of Health and covers 67 communities in Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio. In Massachusetts, it includes both Berkshire cities and about a dozen others such as Greenfield, Lawrence and Springfield. Boston Medical Center's research team is leading the Bay State aspect.
The team will look at comprehensive and integrated treatments in both medical and community settings and prevention strategies.
Alcombright, former mayor, was speaking on at the council meeting after around 40 community members rallied for addiction recovery on the lawn of City Hall. The Voices of Recovery gathering had been postponed from two weeks ago because of the weather.
Community and regional organizations has risen to the occasion when it comes to supporting the recovery community, Alcombright said.
Thank you city councilors for your support and it's your support and the support of our community that have made so much possible for those suffering from substance use disorder and their families right here in North Adams," he said. "Unlike the political and stigma-based interference found in so many other communities around solutions for prevention, of harm reduction, the city of North Adams has risen to understand that to combat the problem, multiple programs offering multiple services provide for the best solutions and the best outcomes."
Mayor Jennifer Macksey, who is supportive of the study and the resources it can bring to North Berkshire, declared September National Recovery Month in the city. Her proclamation read into the record noted that "the misuse of prescription and illegal drugs remain a national epidemic" and that more people now die from overdoses than in auto accidents.
The scourge of addiction and substance misuse are diseases that "recognize no economic, education, gender, generational or social boundaries," she read but people can recover with treatment.
"Men and women in recovery showcase the power each of us pulls to transform ourselves our families and our communities," Macksey continued before presenting the proclamation to Alcombright and Wendy Penner, who has long been involved in recovery efforts locally and is now on the Drug Addiction Recovery Team in Northampton. 
Alcombright said he had asked the mayor to be placed on the agenda of a future meeting to explain the magnitude and intent of the study and what it will mean for North Adams. He also asked those in the audience who were in or who had a family member in recover to stand up to show the "faces of recovery." Seven or eight people stood up in the gallery. 
"Over the past 12 or so years, it's been absolutely heartwarming to see how our leaders have embraced recovery," he said. "I'd like you all to see the faces of recovery, those that you serve with your support advocacy, and those who thank you for your service."
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