Rotary Club preparing for opioid forum

SOUTHWICK – The Southwick Rotary Club is preparing to host a forum on February 7 at 6 p.m. at the Southwick Town Hall to address the opioid addiction crisis. Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, will be the guest speaker for the event.

Information released by the Rotary Club on January 2 states, “Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi, Hampden County Sheriff, is taking a proactive approach to the epidemic by reaching out to his communities in Hampden County. His goal is to take advantage of programs and awareness before a victim needs to be incarcerated for various reasons regarding opioids and other drugs.”

Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi. (Photo courtesy of Nick Cocchi’s website)

The press release also adds that Cocchi is trying to present the theme of “Not in my town, not with my kids.”

Cocchi, along with members of the Southwick Fire, Police, EMT, school district, Select Board, and others will be a part of the forum to discuss opioid issue that has affected people in Southwick and the surrounding communities.

Aside from the individuals scheduled to speak at the forum, there will be information tables set up outside the town hall auditorium. Those offering help will be Southwick Board of Health Director Tom FitzGerald, Todd Crevier from New England Adventures, the One Call Away Foundation, and Opioids Anonymous. These organizations will offer resources and information to people.

This event was first conceived when Rotary Club Vice President Mike Parent started speaking with fellow members and started mentioning that the organization should host an event on opioid use.

Parent has known Cocchi for a number of years so he contacted the sheriff and Cocchi accepted the invitation to headline the forum.

“The sheriff is really a strong believer in cutting this off before it comes to him,” said Parent. “A lot of people don’t think it’s a big problem in Southwick, but it’s a bigger problem than most people think.”

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