Smithfield to hold parents’ forum on substance use

SMITHFIELD – A panel of substance use experts will be on hand Dec. 15 at a forum aimed at parents who want to learn more about opioids and keeping kids safe.

The free event is open to all and starts at 6 p.m. in the Smithfield High School auditorium.

Sponsored by the town of Smithfield and the Substance Use and Mental Health Leadership Council of RI, the forum will feature the film “Circles and Silence,” in which a group of young adults share their experiences with opioids, addiction, treatment and recovery.

Organizers say the forum is being held in response to rising numbers of fatal drug overdoses in the Ocean State. According to the R.I. Office of the State Medical Examiners, deaths from accidental drug overdoses spiked by 25% in 2020.

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At the forum, community health care leaders will offer information on local resources and the Smithfield Safe Stations program. A Q&A session with a panel of experts will round out the night.

Panelists include Catherine DeOrsey, founder and executive director of Integrated Healthcare Solutions; Robert Houghtaling, director of substance abuse prevention and mental health for the town of East Greenwich; Linda E. Hurley, CEO and president of CODAC Inc.; Fred A. Trapassi Jr., CEO of AdCare Rhode Island; and John J. Tassoni Jr., vice president of operations and community and government relations for the Substance Use and Mental Health Leadership Council of RI.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN contributing writer.