Campaign launched to tackle opioid addiction crisis

(Western Mass News image)

Each day in Massachusetts, an average of five people die from opioid-related overdoses.

It is a number that highlights the crisis in opioid addiction.

Western Mass News is teaming up with the Hampden County Sheriff's Department to call attention to the crisis and show where people can turn to for help.

"I'm Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi. Opioids can be a useful tool in managing pain, but so many times, addiction starts with a valid prescription of opioids," said Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi in a recently released public service announcement.

That video is one of the PSA's running on the air at Western Mass News, in conjunction with the Hampden County Sheriff's Office and the Law Offices of Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan, and Blakesley.

It is an effort to call attention to the crisis in opioid addiction and to the help that is available.

"If someone you love has been prescribed opioids for pain, watch for signs of a problem. Early intervention can be a key to effectively dealing with the issues of addiction," Cocchi added in the PSA.

Cocchi sees first-hand the overwhelming numbers in the addiction crisis.

"Eighty-seven out of 100 come to us with some kind of substance abuse issue, so it's a key component as to what we did - stabilizing, educating, and treating these individuals to get them ready to go back into the community," Cocchi said in an interview Tuesday.

If you know someone who's addicted, there is help out there in the community.

> You can CLICK HERE for more information on resources that are available to help families and those who battle addiction

"People struggle with identifying where to find a bed for detox, they struggle where to turn to when their loved one puts their hand up and says I need help," Cocchi added.

Cocchi said that it's critical to have those resources available. He also said that there's another critical component to tackling the opioid addiction crisis.

"It's important that we continue to de-stigmatize opioid addiction. It is important that the family members know that if they put their hand up and ask for help for a loved one. No one is going to be looking at them passing judgment on them or their loved one who's afflicted with this disease," Cocchi noted.

The sheriff said that battling the opioid crisis is a community-wide effort and that includes him.

"The citizens want more work done on the opioid substance abuse addiction issue and I, as the sheriff, feel responsible to support them and work on their behalf," Cocchi noted.

For information on warning signs, treatment options, and resources, you can visit westernmasscares.com

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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