By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
The Everett City Council’s Opiate Task Force will meet on Thursday, January 26 in an open meeting to discuss next steps and look back at some of the work they have accomplished in just their first year in existence.
Committee Chair John Leo McKinnon said he is very proud of the work the Task Force has accomplished in cooperation with other city partners and with the support of all of the city’s elected officials.
Among the actions for which McKinnon credited the Council Opiate Task Force are the distribution of more than 45,000 information pamphlets aimed at helping those in need find help, a new “no Stigma” public awareness campaign, the creation of two full-time positions in the city health department, establishment of training for up to 10 peer recovery coaches, and partnerships with Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s Opiate Task Force, and Everett Overcoming Addiction, which is led by Everett resident Patty Ann Scalise.
Additionally, the Council task force has helped bring awareness campaigns to the Everett Schools and ECTV, in an effort to raise public consciousness that opiate addiction is a disease, whose victims need help and support.
According to Mayoral Chief of Staff Kevin O’Donnell, the selection process for the new Opiate Clinician and Program Coordinator positions in the final stages, with final candidate recommendations expected to be made to Mayor DeMaria this week.
The 10 volunteer recovery coaches are also being selected from a pool of applicants and their training will begin, after the full-time positions are hired and have begun.
“I truly appreciate all of the work that everyone in the city has put into this issue, especially my colleagues on the Council, who provided the funding to create the new positions and the recovery coaches training, as well as the support we have all had from the administration and our legislative leaders, State Representative Joseph McGonagle and State Senator Sal DiDomenico.