(L to R): Doctor John Kelly, Associate Professor of Psychiatry in Addiction Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Joanne Peterson, Founder and Executive Director, Learn to Cope; Marian Ryan, District Attorney and Patrick Murphy, President, Massachusetts Association of School Committees

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan recently spoke as part of a panel presentation to approximately 700 people on ways that the opioid epidemic is affecting schools, communities and individuals across the Commonwealth as part of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) and Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents’ (MASS) Joint Conference.

District Attorney Ryan was joined on the panel by Doctor John Kelly, who specializes in addiction medicine, and Joanne Peterson, who founded Learn to Cope, an organization that provides support for family and loved ones of those experiencing substance misuse. District Attorney Ryan discussed the challenges that educators continue to encounter due to the impacts of the opioid epidemic; including grandparents raising their grandchildren because of substance misuse by parents, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and Mental Health Association of Greater Lowell’s Project CARE (Child Assessment and Response Evaluation) which makes mental health services available to children who experience an opioid-related trauma such as witnessing a fatal overdose of a loved one and ways that teachers can approach substance misuse issues they may see in students.

MASC is a member-driven association whose mission is to support Massachusetts school leaders in their increasingly complex governance role. MASS was founded in 1973, and is the only statewide organization dedicated to the unique professional and advocacy concerns of school superintendents and assistant superintendents. The Association members include 277 superintendents and 148 Assistant Superintendents. The MASC and MASS Joint Conference is the largest annual gathering of educational leaders in Massachusetts including school committee members and superintendents. Approximately 1,100 people attended this year’s conference.


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