WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2014

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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here in front of us." The terrifying visual images of junkies and needles in the 1960s and 70s put it firmly on the outside of most teenage drug experimentation. "In my generation, even those people who would con- sider doing drugs wouldn't touch heroin," says Chief Brooks. Although the opiate problem is not as crippling in Wellesley or Weston as in other Massachusetts communities, the very existence of these drugs creates opportunity for in-depth drug intervention and education. "I think these anti-drug messages should start in middle school health classes," says Massachusetts State Representative Alice Peisch, "and be repeated yearly during the course of their schooling." Wellesley High School has myriad resources for students who may be in crisis due to substance abuse. "We have very good adjustment coun- selors and excellent school psychologists," says Dr. Keough, "and we have support teams who try to identify students who might be in trou- ble before things get too serious. They might enact intervention strate- gies in partnership with parents." Law enforcement also strives to preempt potential drug abuse by working with young people collabo- ratively with parents, schools, or friends. "We work with people," says Chief Cunningham. "I have no desire to make a [drug abuse] arrest. The most important thing we try to do is to get them into treatment." Law enforcement's shift from a historically punitive response to a more safety based one came on gradually. But in 1999, there was a tragic incident that changed the lives of one Wellesley family, propelling them to take more immediate action. Larry and Susan Sheehan, who currently live on the Cape, lost their daughter, Alison, to a heroin over- dose in 1999. "Alison was left to die," says Susan Sheehan. "The person she was with did not call 911 and when she did finally arrive at the hospital, it was too late and nothing could be done." Alison's use of heroin was a one-time event as far as her parents could tell. She had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia and was often seen by her doctor but no obvious drug use was evident. This horrific scenario galvanized the Sheehans to make sure that this senseless loss never branded another family. Realizing that the law at the time gave no cover to someone who might want to call 911 for an overdose of 104 Bad Habits W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 4 ( C O N T I N U E D O N P A G E 1 0 9 )

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