The Springfield Cares Coalition is hosting a town hall meeting at E.T. Richardson Middle School, located at 20 West Woodland Avenue in Springfield, on Monday, Oct. 16 from 7-8:30 PM.
This free event is open to the community, as well as surrounding communities. Featured speakers and presentations will provide education and information on the disease of addiction and what to look for in order to better identify early warning signs.
The night will begin with insight from Springfield School District Superintendent Tony Barber and Treatment Coordinator Sean Rodgers. The Springfield Police Department will offer a paraphernalia and substance presentation followed by Michael A. Blanche, MSS, LCSW, co-founder of Therapeutic Alliance and a licensed clinical social worker with experience providing direct clinical treatment for those dually diagnosed with addiction and other psychological issues.
Following Michael Blanche, guest recovery advocate speaker, Vanessa Vitolo, will share her story. She serves as a spokesperson for the ReachNJ campaign sponsored by the State of New Jersey. Dr. Chris Davis will offer a physician’s perspective, and the event will close with a Q&A session with committee members and speakers.
“The epidemic weʼre facing hasnʼt left a single family untouched,” said Senator Tom McGarrigle, a committee member and an advocate for the community. “Groups like Springfield Cares are making a difference in our communities, and giving me the support and information I need to make the needed changes in Harrisburg. We need to ensure our residents, our neighborhoods, and our children can have a future without facing this crisis of addiction. Thatʼs what Springfield Cares is about.”
Committee member Robert Simpson is one of many who saw the need for action.
“Springfield Cares Coalition was established to create awareness, provide information, and gain involvement on the massive addiction epidemic that is hitting every community,” he said. “The opioid crisis, and all addictions, need to be talked about openly and honestly, and it begins at the local level.”
Founded in 2016, the Springfield Cares Coalition is a unified effort to defeat the crisis of substance use disorder by positive actions and caring responses through community involvement. They work to develop community awareness and involvement, making Springfield a difficult place to traffic illegal drugs.
Rodgers has experienced this epidemic first hand.
“Springfield Cares was started to help communities better understand addiction and to bust the stigma associated with this disease, so people could gain access to the help they needed without feeling shame for reaching out and asking for help,” he said. “We provide assistance for both people suffering from addiction, as well as family members seeking to learn more about their loved one’s struggles. Remember there is Hope in Recovery!”