Workshop on “Fourth wave of opioid epidemic” scheduled for Aug. 26

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A virtual workshop entitled “Fourth Wave of the Opioid Epidemic: Polysubstance Use” has been scheduled online for this week on Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Hosted by the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office and the Berkshire Opioid Addiction Prevention Collaborative in Massachusetts, the presentation will feature information from Dr. Daniel Ciccarone of the University of California and his research into interventions for problem drug use.

The discussion will also feature Drug and Alcohol Counselor Christopher Maschino, Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity Neighborhood Revitalization Director Dubois Thomas, Syringe Access Program Manager North Adams Tapestry Samantha Kendall, Healthy Steps Harm Reduction Supervisor Sarah DeJesus, Berkshire Opioid Addiction Prevention Collaborative Coordinator Jennifer Kimball, and Cheshire Police Officer and NBEMS Paramedic Amalio Jusino.

The workshop will be held via Zoom starting at 6 p.m. and will also be live-streamed on the Berkshire District Attorney’s Facebook page.

“We continue to be concerned that increased stress, a tanking economy, and the unraveling of the social service safety net resulting from the pandemic will worsen our drug problem,” District Attorney Andrea Harrington said.

Federal law enforcement agencies and medical experts have warned of an upcoming “Fourth Wave” of the opioid epidemic. This one will include the rise of stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine alongside the opioid use. Federal law enforcement has said that the flow of illegal drugs into communities will continue to rise and that local governments and agencies need to be prepared for it.

Researchers have said that they anticipate increases in drug overdoses as a result of the stresses and mental health issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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