WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2016-2017

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.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/745407

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Page 140 of 211

tsunami of self-medication, there is heroin—cheap, readily available, and suddenly present in comfortable, upscale communities like ours. To put those statistics into sharp perspective, almost 28,000 people died from heroin overdoses in the U.S. alone in 2014, which is double what it was a decade ago. That number is right up there with gun vio- lence (rising) and car accidents (diminishing). In Massachusetts alone, there were almost 100,000 admissions to addiction programs in 2014. Consider this: most local police and fire department personnel, the "first responders" who lead the squad cars and EMT teams, now carry Narcan (nalaxone), a drug designed to counteract the effect of an opi- ate overdose—and they are using it. Meanwhile, physicians and den- tists wrote over 200 million opioid prescriptions in 2013. Surely most of them were with good intention. But it's the "I just need one more," abusers and the "leftovers" found in medicine chests by adventurous kids that are the ticking time bombs of addictive behavior. Another complicating factor, as the staff doctors at McLean Hospital explained in an interview: there is a clear correlation between mental illness and addiction. In its early grant-making experience, Lighthouse responds to this issue by selectively supporting families in which one or the other or both may be a determining factor. At Risk It is the young who are most at risk, of course. Children with their impulse control circuits not fully developed can have a tendency to experiment, take risks, and often break boundaries. As parents want to nurture strong, independent kids with the ability to make smart decisions. But how can we do that when our children are surrounded, even overwhelmed, by sensory overload from TV, social media, and video games—and often have ready access to "soft drugs" in their peer network? Which brings us back to the Lighthouse Charitable Foundation and that most challenging of questions: What do you do when someone you love is an addict? A specialist who works closely with Lighthouse seeks answers through a model she created based on sound business 139 w i n t e r 2 0 1 6 / 2 0 1 7 | W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e

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