NEW BRITAIN – As the city moves into week three of National Recovery Month, the Local Prevention Council is actively spreading awareness through social media campaigns and virtual platforms.
The third week’s topic is focused on “Getting Help,” where social media posts shows that there are people out there who care, who share similar experiences, and those who understand what those who are in recovery are going through. Those include emergency medical services workers, healthcare providers, and law enforcement officers.
Originally, the city had planned to do a series of events starting from Aug. 31, which was Overdose Awareness Day and roll into National Recovery Month, said Mallory Deprey, the city’s director of Community Services. “But with the pandemic, we obviously couldn’t do those events so we thought going digital is the way to go,” she said.
The idea stemmed from the city’s Opioid Response Task Force, which was created by Mayor Erin Stewart in 2019 as a response to the nationwide opioid overdose epidemic. National Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
During a regular meeting Tuesday, the Local Prevention Council reviewed student survey results on substance abuse, where it showed about 80% of New Britain High School students do not use marijuana and 81% do not drink. Both substances are on par with both high school and middle school students, who think using either of them are bad.
Members of the council hope to find more outside support to help students, so they can identify people in their community who can help them.
James Jones, executive director for Boys & Girls Club of New Britain, said a large number of high school students failed out of their classes last year and so they are looking to do something more proactive, such as bringing teachers to the club to engage with the students.
“We’re hoping for the teachers to do some activities together with their kids and build relationships, which will help both the teachers and kids connect with each other,” he said. But with covid-19, getting teachers and students may be difficult since so many students are doing remote learning.
“But we are working on plans for them,” Jones said