John Johnson Remembered

It's Killing and Destroying Lives

by Bobby Blair
December 7, 2017

It was late afternoon several weeks ago when emergency responders were called to the Holly Hill section of town for a drug overdose. A middle aged male was administered a dose of narcan. A few nights ago it was a teen-aged girl who overdosed not far from downtown. If you don't think it can happen to you, your children, a spouse, relatives or friends you're sadly mistaken. Here in our suburban enclave drugs have already taken lives. While individual records aren't made public through police or fire department logs due to privacy laws, recent statistics from the fire department indicate a snapshot of an evolving trend. Chief Mike Cassidy told the that his department has only kept records involving the use of narcan by police or EMT's for the past three years. Narcan is used to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. In 2015 emergency responders used narcan 5 times, 2016 - 1 and 2017 - 9 times. Stats for those in town overdosing on either drugs or ETOH (alcohol) seem to indicate a rise in calls for assistantance. In 2015 there were 11 calls from overdosing or poisoning from alcohol, 2016 - 29 calls and 25 calls for the fiscal 2017 year ending June 30th.

The Bureau of Substance Abuse Services may provide further insight into Holliston's addiction to drugs and alcohol. The most recent statistics are from 2014. That year 105 residents entered facilities for addiction, both alcohol and drugs. 72.7% were males, 27.3 % females. 13.4% were married, under 18 years of age 9.1%, 18-25 - 24.2%, 26-30 - 32.3%, 31-40 - 7.1%, 41-50 - 17.2% and 51 and older 10.1%. The homeless accounted for 8.2%, those who used a needle in the past year 28.9%, and 44.3% percent had prior treatment.

Further insight into overdoses in Massachusetts are those simple #2069 sign's scattered about town signifying the deaths in the state last year (2016) from overdoses. A new trend in the listing of obituaries now has families listing drug abuse in their loved one's death notice in hopes that it will help others with addiction. One recent death notice of a former Holliston resident did just that. It can be viewed here: spoke to Gina Stucchi, President of the Holliston Drug & Alcohol Awareness Coalition  While Stucchi seemed discouraged by attendance at HDAC's monthly meetings, she did say that she has received many calls from parents concerning vaping. Vaping is the act of inhaling vapor produced by a vaporizer or electronic cigarette. The vapor is produced from a material such as an e-liquid, concentrate, or dry herb. Stucchi reminds parents it's their duty to check their child's bedroom if they're afraid that child is abusing drugs.

With the holiday season upon us and especially alcoholics looking forward to the "Big 3", Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's, it may benefit those around us who may have addiction issues that there is help out there if they want it.

Alcoholics Anonymous:

Narcotics Anonymous:

Holliston Youth and Family Services:

Genesis Counseling Services, Framingham:

Suicide & Crisis Hotline:

Mass. Substance Abuse

God: As close as your knees are to the ground

For those who just need a friendly ear, you can call me at 508-429-6763.

A Thought for the day:

You know what's freaking scary? The fact that I could literally change my life at any moment. I could stop talking to everyone that makes me unhappy. I could kiss whomever I want. I could shave my head or get on a plane or take my own life. Nothing is stopping me. The entire world is in my hands, and I have no idea what to do with it.   -author unknown-



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