Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan Hosts Presentation for Seniors on Opioids

For Immediate Release July 14, 2017
Contact: Press Office

Left to Right: Tricia Pope, Director, Marlborough Council on Aging; David Giorgi, Chief, Marlborough Police Department; Marian Ryan, District Attorney; Danielle Gregoire, State Representative; Carmine Gentile, State Representative

MARLBOROUGH – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan spoke to Marlborough seniors today as part of her county-wide initiative to raise awareness about the risks and impacts of the opioid crisis for seniors. The presentation was part of the District Attorney’s grandparent opioid program, which educates seniors in Middlesex County about how to manage their prescription medication, keep medication safe from theft, properly dispose of unused or expired medication and identify signs of drug addiction in loved ones. Seniors were also given resources about programs that provide support, guidance and coaching for individuals and family members dealing with addiction. District Attorney Ryan was joined by Tricia Pope, Director, Marlborough Council on Aging; David Giorgi, Chief, Marlborough Police Department; Danielle Gregoire, State Representative and Carmine Gentile, State Representative.

Approximately 34,000 grandparents in Massachusetts are raising grandchildren. According to a survey conducted by the Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Children, 80 percent of these cases are because of opioid use or the opioid-related death of a son or daughter.  Additionally, seniors often have opioids at home, either from a prior surgery or as an active prescription for chronic pain.  They can also be financially vulnerable and susceptible to pressure from family members who may approach them for money when they know they regularly receive checks

The grandparent program provides an essential understanding of opioids, educating seniors on the origin of the problem and focusing on issues including overprescribing and prescription drug use as a gateway to heroin. The presentation also helps seniors to identify signs of a substance use disorder of which they may be otherwise unaware. Some signs seniors learned to watch for include missing items like spoons, aluminum foil, plastic sandwich bags and valuables like money and jewelry.

At the conclusion of the presentation, District Attorney Ryan provided attending seniors with a “File of Life.” This personalized card can be used to maintain a list of an individual’s medications, the dosages, and frequency, and lists important information about medical data and emergency contacts.  This card can be a helpful tool for first responders when administering emergency care and also to help identify missing medication in cases of suspected elder abuse.

This training was a part of a county-wide initiative to provide information and resources to Middlesex seniors. Addiction is a disease experienced by the entire family and children and seniors are the most vulnerable secondary victims of the opioid crisis.

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