BEDFORD — The Central Middlesex Police Partnership (CMPP), the Bedford Board of Health, and Bedford Police Chief Robert Bongiorno announce a community forum and screening of the film “If Only,” seeking to raise awareness of the nationwide opioid crisis and its effects in Bedford.
Wednesday, May 17 from 6:30-9 p.m.
Bedford High School Auditorium, 9 Mudge Way
• Joani Geltman, MSW: Child Development and Parenting Expert
• Melissa Weiksnar: Parent, Writer, Speaker, Advocate, and Carlisle Resident whose daughter died of an overdose in 2009.
• Robert Bongiorno: Bedford Police Chief
The Central Middlesex Police Partnership (including the Bedford Police Department) will be teaming up with the Bedford Board of Health for the free film viewing and skill-building discussion for the entire community surrounding the opioid crisis.
“We are proud to be co-hosting this event to increase awareness about such a major issue,” Chief Bongiorno said. “By educating students and parents about the current drug climate, it can greatly reduce the risk of a teen getting involved in drugs.”
The goal of the opioid forum is to help the community learn tools to develop a proactive approach to healthy youth development and prevent substance use within the community.
“Our goal is not to scare people, but to educate the community about the great risks involved with substance use,” said Alia Toran-Burrell of the Jail Diversion Program and CMPP. “Starting conversations between parents and their teens is the first step in tackling this crisis.”
The free event kicks off with light refreshments and a review of “Hidden in Plain Sight” – a program created by Power to the Parent that helps parents recognize hiding places for drugs or alcohol in a teen’s bedroom.
The film “If Only”, created by James Wahlberg and the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, tells the stories of two families whose lives were impacted by substance abuse. Following the film, Joani Geltman will speak about the relationship between a teen’s personality and their experimentation with drugs or alcohol, and provide concrete strategies for parents to keep families safe.
Melissa Weiksnar will talk about her own family’s experience with the opioid crisis and how families can cope with addiction. Chief Bongiorno will provide an overview of substance abuse in Bedford and the law enforcement perspective on the opioid problem.
The Central Middlesex Police Partnership (CMPP) and the Bedford Board of Health are sponsoring the event and will provide door prizes to two lucky winners. Other communities in the CMPP have or are in the process of hosting similar events.
About the Central Middlesex Police Partnership
The Central Middlesex Police Partnership is a network consisting of the Acton, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Hanscom Air Force Base, Lexington, Lincoln, Maynard, and Stow Police Departments. The agencies, working alongside Eliot Community Human Services, work together to address vital quality of life issues including mental health services, the addiction epidemic, and issues affecting youth in the communities.