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Frances Harding, Director of the SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Prevention addresses the crowd

Frances Harding, Director of the SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, addresses the crowd

Last week, the Department hosted the first in a series of statewide Town Hall Meetings that will examine what can be done to prevent underage drinking and prescription drug abuse in the Commonwealth.  Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) Director Hilary Jacobs was joined at the State House by Frances Harding, Director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Senators Keenan and Lovely, Representative Malia and youth representing Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and schools across the Commonwealth for the exciting kickoff event.

These town hall meetings take place against the backdrop of an opioid overdose crisis in Massachusetts and we know, for many people, the journey to opioid addiction begins with alcohol use and non-medical use of prescription drugs at a young age. The meetings are designed to raise awareness of this growing problem and provide youth, parents, caregivers, and other adults with the tools necessary to help protect young people from using alcohol and the misuse of prescription drugs with the hopes of preventing future overdoses.

By working together, communities can have a dramatic and lasting impact on underage drinking and misuse of prescription and other drugs in Massachusetts. Throughout the coming months, Town Hall Meetings will be held across the state in order to engage youth and adults in developing effective solutions. For information and updates about local events, visit

Written By:

Interim Director of Prevention in the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services

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