What does this small town know that drug addiction authorities don’t?

Summary and Analysis…

This story highlights the importance of a multi-prong, community-based approach for addressing the opioid crisis. In contrast to reductionists who seem to be saying that medication is the lynchpin for all successful treatment, the Massachusetts town of Greenfield has put individuals, community and coordinated action at the center.

The results so far are promising and emphasize ways to use the full range of available resources rather than disparage or marginalize options.

Such community approaches seem to be an emerging pattern for long-term, sustainable success.

Excerpted from ZY

Chris Sheperd lost 14 friends to heroin overdoses, including a girlfriend who was pregnant with his child. But what made him stop using heroin was an organic gardening class he took while incarcerated in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

Ninety minutes west of Boston, Greenfield has a population of 17,000, and like so many rural places across the U.S., it has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. Greenfield, though, has waged an ambitious response — one that may be a blueprint for other communities.

“Everybody needs a sense of purpose,” Potee [medical director Dr. Ruth Potee] says. “It could be taking care of your kids, or having a job, or going back to school, or walking your neighbor’s dog.”

“The work that’s happening in Greenfield is a microcosm of what needs to happen all across the country,” says Botticelli [Michael Botticelli, former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy].