Let’s keep our town safe this Halloween! Please follow the town’s guidelines:
Whether your child has struggled with opioid dependence or other substance use issues previously, or whether you’re just concerned about the current opioid crisis, there’s good reason to want your child’s pain to be managed – if possible – by something other than prescription opioid pills. Eventually, your child might have an orthopedic injury or need a tooth pulled at the dentist, so what happens then?
While opioid medications may be effective for treating pain in the short-term, they have an extremely high propensity for addiction and do nothing to address the underlying cause of the pain.
The good news is that there are many alternatives to opioids that can help alleviate your child’s pain. Below, we’ve helped to spell them out for you and have provided guidance on how to ask your doctor about these alternatives.
Finish the article here: https://drugfree.org/parent-blog/are-there-any-alternatives-when-a-physician-offers-my-child-opioids-for-pain/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=parent&utm_campaign=alternatives-to-opioids#alternatives
Over 10 years ago we changed our name from the Winchester Substance Abuse Coalition to the Winchester Coalition for a Safer Community. Although we spend a lot of time working to educate the community regarding issues of substance misuse and other risky behaviors, we also address issues of mental health, identity and self-esteem since we believe that they are all interrelated. We wanted our name to represent our broader mission.
As an organization committed to the safety and well-being of our residents, we condemn anything that threatens this safety and well-being. We condemn racism and violence in all forms. We were sickened by the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis officers, which is just one example of so many horrific assaults against the black community. We stand in solidarity with those who are protesting peacefully.
Our town has evolved and grown, and we welcome residents from many countries and cultures. We celebrate our diversity in our schools and town organizations. We believe that recognizing white privilege is a critical step in building a community that is just and equitable for all members, and we will work to educate ourselves regarding issues of systemic racial injustice. We will continue to stand for policies that treat addiction as a public health issue and to call for treatment — not jail sentences — for those who are struggling. We will look for concrete steps that we can take to make change.
As part of this, we will continue to work with our partners: Winchester Public Schools, Winchester Police Department, Winchester Fire Department, the Jenks Center, Winchester Public Library, Parent to Parent, the Winchester Foundation for Educational Excellence, and the Network for Social Justice. We are pleased that our town leaders are also committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, with zero tolerance for racism, hatred or bigotry.
For those who want to take steps right now, see the links below from the Obama Foundation: https://www.obama.org/anguish-and-action/.
Register now for “I’ll Never Do That” on December 12, 2019 at the Winchester Public Library! Here is the registration link: https://tinyurl.com/IPWinchester19.
When you get together with family and friends around a Thanksgiving table do you expect the subject of vaping and vaping illnesses to come up? Do you worry that you don’t know how to respond because you want to share accurate and helpful information? Here are a few suggestions to help you respond about vaping tobacco and nicotine from the Tobacco-Free Community Partnerships in Massachusetts along with links you can follow to learn more.
Q: I hear there is a ban on vaping and e-cigarette products in Massachusetts. What is that all about?
A: Governor Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency in response to the outbreak of severe lung illnesses associated with e-cigarettes and vaping. To protect the health of Massachusetts residents, the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health ordered a temporary ban on the sale of all vape and e-cigarette products in Massachusetts so that federal agencies have time to investigate the cause of the illnesses, which is still unknown. The ban is currently in effect until December 24, 2019.
Q: People say only off-the-street and homemade products are making people sick–so why is there a ban on everything?
A: All products are banned temporarily because it’s not clear which products or substances are making people sick. The common factor linking all cases is a history of e-cigarette use and vaping. It’s important to know that while the federal government is regulating certain aspects of e-cigarettes, this DOES NOT currently include the manufacturing of e-cigarettes and vaping products. What that means, is that no e-cigarette or vaping product sold in local convenience stores, vape shops, online or on the street has been tested and approved as safe to use. In addition, ingredients for e-juices are not regulated and therefore we can’t really be sure what is in them or that they are safe and flavors have not been approved to heat up and inhale.
Q: What is in e-cigarettes? I hear that it is just flavored water. What is so bad about them?
A: Users may be inhaling harmful and potentially harmful substances. E-cigarettes contain pre-filled pods or e-liquids/e-juices that the user adds to the device. E-liquids generally consist of propylene glycol, glycerin, water, nicotine, and flavorings. E-cigarettes produce an aerosol, commonly called vapor, which users inhale from the device and exhale.
Q: What can I do to prevent my child or loved ones from vaping?
A: Simply talking with your child about these products can help protect them. Let them know that you care about them and that vaping is not safe. Tell them the facts: e-cigarettes contain nicotine; nicotine is a highly addictive substance. The smoke from vapes is an aerosol, not water vapor. The aerosol can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including: nicotine, ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease, volatile organic compounds, cancer-causing chemicals, heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead. Nicotine can damage a teenager’s brain and lead to addiction.
Q: Now that these products are not available for purchase in Massachusetts, how can I encourage youth and young adults to quit vaping?
A: There are currently two programs available to help youth and young adults quit vaping, smoking or using other tobacco products.
This is Quitting powered by truth® is a texting program for young people who want to quit vaping. It is a free, confidential 30-day program during which youth receive texts with information, tips, and support. They receive daily text messages to help them prepare to quit and supportive texts from young people who have been through the program. To enroll in the program, youth text “VapeFreeMass” to 88709. Youth can also connect with their school nurse, counselor, or coach to help get them started.
My Life, My QuitTM is a specially designed program to help young people quit vaping or other tobacco products. My Life, My QuitTM provides five free and confidential coaching sessions by phone, live texting, or chat with specially-trained youth coach specialists. Youth can text “Start My Quit” to 855-891-9989 or call toll-free 1-855-891-9989 for real-time coaching. They can also visit mylifemyquit.com to sign up online, chat with a live coach, get information about vaping and tobacco, and find activities to help them quit.
Q: How can I help adults who are trying to quit vaping, smoking or using other tobacco products?
A: Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to connect with the Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline. The Helpline is a free and confidential service for Massachusetts residents who want help to end their nicotine and tobacco use. If you are looking to quit tobacco, you can now get help from a quit coach over the phone; or use online tools and resources; or a combination of these online features and telephone coaching. You can also enroll online using a computer or smartphone at https://ma.quitlogix.org/en-US/Enroll-Now.
Q: How can I learn more information and stay up-to-date?
• Facts about vaping, tips for parents, and information for schools from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health: https://www.getoutraged.org • Basic facts for youth and a list of quitting resources for youth: https://www.mass.gov/ vaping • Weekly updated information about vaping-related illnesses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/ severe-lung-disease.html#latest-outbreak-information • Information about the emergency vaping regulation in Massachusetts: https:// http://www.mass.gov/guides/vapingemergency • To contact the Tobacco-Free Community Partnership in your region: http://makesmokinghistory.org/my-community/community-partnerships/
WINCHESTER — As residents of all ages look forward to Winchester’s spring traditions of the En Ka Fair, senior prom and Town Day, Chief Peter MacDonnell and Winchester Police wish to offer information and tips for remaining safe during each event.
The En Ka Fair takes place on May 17 and 18, senior prom is scheduled for May 29 and Town Day will be held on June 1.
“Each of these events is well attended enjoyed by Winchester’s residents,” Chief MacDonnell said. “Our top priority is ensuring that everyone has a good time and gets home safely. We want high school seniors in particular to be conscious of their behavior and the importance of making good decisions on prom night.”
Residents should be aware that some roads will be closed during these events. Beginning on Tuesday, May 15 at 6 p.m. and continuing through the morning of
Sunday, May 19, Skillings Road will be closed in both directions from the high school entrance to the Town Hall intersection in order to accommodate the EnKa fair. On Thursday, May 15, Mount Vernon Street will be closed in both directions from the rotary to the Town Hall intersection starting at 6 p.m. and also continuing through the morning of Sunday, May 19. For both the fair and Town Day, motorists should exercise extreme caution due to increased pedestrian traffic on town streets and sidewalks.
Winchester Police will have an increased presence at each event, but fair and Town Day attendees should remain vigilant and maintain awareness of their surroundings. Anyone who sees something that appears suspicious or out of place should immediately notify an event organizer or public safety officials. Parents please keep in mind that during this time of year, risky behaviors (such as underage alcohol use, vaping and/or juuling and marijuana use) among our middle and high school aged youth may increase.
Prom can be one of the most memorable and exciting events of their high school career, but for parents, it can be a stressful night. Students should remember the decisions made before, during and after prom can have long-term consequences.
Chief MacDonnell recommends parents reinforce the importance of good decision making with their children, and encourages families to remember the following guidelines as prom night approaches.
Think responsibly: Students are responsible for their own actions, and should not feel pressured to take part in inappropriate behavior — prior, during, or after the dance. It’s OK to say no, even if others are participating.
Travel safely: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers. Always buckle up, no matter how short the trip. It’s the law.
• Don’t drink and drive, and don’t get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
• Don’t text and drive. Texting and cell phone use while driving is illegal for Massachusetts teens under 18 years old.
Plan ahead and know the law: After prom parties should be supervised. Students should make plans to be with friends and notify parents or guardians where they’ll be and how to reach them.
• The Good Samaritan Law (M.G.L. 94C §34A) states that a person experiencing a drug-related overdose (or someone with the overdosing party) who seeks medical assistance will not be charged or prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance.
• The law now also provides immunity from prosecution for those under twenty- one who unlawfully possession alcohol (c. 138 § 34C) and those who unlawfully purchase alcohol (c. 138 § 34A) when seeking medical attention for alcohol incapacitation. The person who calls for medical attention and the person in need of medical attention are immune from prosecution from these alcohol related offenses.
• Under the Social Host law, parents are criminally and civilly liable if they allow underage drinking to occur in their homes or any property controlled by them.
Communicate: Parents should reinforce to their children that they will not tolerate underage drinking, and that’s it is illegal. Get students’ itineraries for the evening, including whom they will be with, where they’ll be going before and after the prom, and the phone numbers of where you can contact them. Come to a fair decision on a curfew and express any concerns about their health and safety.
Be understanding: Family members are urged to make it clear to their children that they can call them at any time for help, advice or a ride.
The Winchester Police Department is here as a resource for the community and our ultimate goal is to keep all people who live in or visit Winchester safe.
Please join us for a community presentation on the Challenges We Face With Underage Drinking on Tuesday evening May 7, 2019 from 7-8pm in the Winchester High School Library/Media Center. This program is being co- sponsored by the Winchester Coalition for a Safer Community and the Winchester Police Department. All are welcome to attend.