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RCASA

Welcome to the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse website

We are a coalition of youth & adults living and working in Reading, MA who promote a safe, healthy, vibrant community in which everyone makes healthy decisions and ensures that today's resources shape tomorrow's strengths.

Get matched with a mental health services provider, call the INTERFACE REFERRAL HELPLINE 888-244-6843 (toll free). Available from Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm for Reading residents.

Thank you for coming to see RCASA - slides are under Presentations @ Community Education 

BEAUTIFUL BOY Film: A Discussion Guide for Families
“Beautiful Boy” is a powerful, poignant and heartbreaking film, combining the memoirs of David Sheff and his son, Nic Sheff. A story of addiction told through the eyes of a father, a family’s struggle driven by fear, heartache, determination, hope and unconditional love. If you… Continue
“Beautiful Boy” is a powerful, poignant and heartbreaking film, combining the memoirs of David Sheff and his son, Nic Sheff. A story of addiction told through the eyes of a father, a family’s struggle driven by fear, heartache, determination, hope and unconditional love. If you see the film, check out this discussion guide to open conversations in your family.
RCASA Presentation at Citizen Police Academy
Youth Mental Health First Aid Course Scheduled for Thurs Nov 8th from 8am-4pm
Sometimes first aid isn't a bandage or CPR. Sometimes, first aid is YOU. A young person you know could be experiencing a mental health or substance use problem. Learn an action plan to help. Anyone 18+ can take the Youth Mental Health First Aid course, but it is recommended for t… Continue
Sometimes first aid isn't a bandage or CPR. Sometimes, first aid is YOU. A young person you know could be experiencing a mental health or substance use problem. Learn an action plan to help. Anyone 18+ can take the Youth Mental Health First Aid course, but it is recommended for those who regularly have contact with young people ages 12-18. Course Instructor: Erica McNamara, MPH. Course location: Reading Police Department. Course fee: $0 for Reading employees/residents, $30 for out of town participants.
Adult Mental Health First Aid Course Scheduled for Fri. Nov. 9th from 8am-4pm
An adult you know could be experiencing a mental health or substance use problem. Learn an action plan to help. You are more likely to encounter someone in an emotional or mental crisis than someone having a heart attack. Learn how to help a friend, family member, coworker or nei… Continue
An adult you know could be experiencing a mental health or substance use problem. Learn an action plan to help. You are more likely to encounter someone in an emotional or mental crisis than someone having a heart attack. Learn how to help a friend, family member, coworker or neighbor in need. This course is for adults 18+ that want to learn how to support other adults. Get trained in Mental Health First Aid. Course Instructor: Erica McNamara, MPH. Course location: Reading Police Department. Course fee: $0 for Reading employees/residents, $30 for out of town participants.
Boston's HUB Week Featured Experts on the changing landscape of Marijuana in Massachusetts
The RCASA Director attended two events focused on understanding the changing landscape. Learn more about the experts that shared their insights and research. Dr. Jodi Gilman https://scholar.harvard.edu/jodigilman/home Dr. Gene Beresin https://www.mghclaycenter.org/about-us/our-t… Continue
The RCASA Director attended two events focused on understanding the changing landscape. Learn more about the experts that shared their insights and research. Dr. Jodi Gilman https://scholar.harvard.edu/jodigilman/home Dr. Gene Beresin https://www.mghclaycenter.org/about-us/our-team/gene-beresin-m-d/
RCASA 12th Annual Coalition Meeting On Sept 27, 2018
Thank you to everyone that participated in our annual coalition meeting. This event featured coalition highlights from the past year. Sherri VandenAkker, RCASA Board of Directors, delivered the keynote entitled “What I Wish I Knew: When Someone You Love Suffers From A Substance U… Continue
Thank you to everyone that participated in our annual coalition meeting. This event featured coalition highlights from the past year. Sherri VandenAkker, RCASA Board of Directors, delivered the keynote entitled “What I Wish I Knew: When Someone You Love Suffers From A Substance Use Disorder”.
Hidden in Plain Sight Attended by 80 Adults @ Reading Police Department
Thank you to all 80 adults who visited the Hidden in Plain Sight exhibit this September.The initiative uses an educational display of a teenager’s bedroom to test parents’ knowledge of common household items that can be substance abuse warning signs. The display was designed to e… Continue
Thank you to all 80 adults who visited the Hidden in Plain Sight exhibit this September.The initiative uses an educational display of a teenager’s bedroom to test parents’ knowledge of common household items that can be substance abuse warning signs. The display was designed to encourage honest and candid discussion of the topics of underage drinking and substance abuse. Tour guides were on hand to guide participants and answer questions. Special thanks to the Mission of Deeds, Burbank YMCA and Reading Police Department for their support.
Erica McNamara returns as RCASA Director
Erica McNamara resumed her full time role as the Director of RCASA on October 1. Thank you to everyone for their support!
RCASA Accepts National Recovery Month Award in Washington D.C.
A photo of Sherri VandenAkker, RCASA Board Member accepting the Reading Unites for Recovery National Recovery Month Award from Chideha M. Ohuoha, M.D., M.P.H., CAPT (USPHS), Director, SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the annual luncheon in Washington, D.C. on Septem… Continue
A photo of Sherri VandenAkker, RCASA Board Member accepting the Reading Unites for Recovery National Recovery Month Award from Chideha M. Ohuoha, M.D., M.P.H., CAPT (USPHS), Director, SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the annual luncheon in Washington, D.C. on September 6, 2018.
The Beat Heart Foundation Presents the 2nd Annual Jams for Jake
RCASA participated in the 2nd annual celebration of music and community on Sunday August 5th. More details on the event can be found at
The New Look of Nicotine Addiction
The state just launched its new campaign to spread the word that high-tech vaping products are harmful, that they contain nicotine which can damage a teenager’s developing brain and lead to addiction.
Regional Recovery Celebration & Remembrance Vigil
This special event, coordinated by the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition, will be held on the Stoneham Town Common on September 18, 2018 from 6-7:30pm. More details to follow. Previous celebrations were held in Reading, Medford and Wakefield.
RCASA Accepts Donation from Rotary
Learn more about OPERATION OPIOID PREVENTION
The personal impact of opioids
This ad is 1 of 4 in a multi-channel campaign from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP),the Ad Council and Truth Initiative that focuses on preventing and reducing the misuse of opioids among youth and young adult.
Kudos to our RCASA/RMHS/SADD Student-Led Outreach Team
We had a team of students present at Parker today on Vaping Prevention. Leaders are Matt Segalla, Sarah Murphy, Molly Hamlin, Katie Kneeland, Autumn Hendrickson, & Mason Haynes. Special thanks to SRO Lewis for serving as a Co-Advisor on this pop-up activity.
CALLING RMHS Alumni- Participate in Dear 13 year old me
RCASA is accepting written submissions from Reading Public School teachers from grades 6-12, current high school students, and RMHS alumni on what they would tell their 13-year-old selves. The writing prompt is “Share a sentence or brief statement that address the struggles you m… Continue
RCASA is accepting written submissions from Reading Public School teachers from grades 6-12, current high school students, and RMHS alumni on what they would tell their 13-year-old selves. The writing prompt is “Share a sentence or brief statement that address the struggles you might have faced in middle school or message of hope, support or encouragement as if talking to your younger self… If you are interested, click below to participate
RCASA & SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) are focused on preventing substance use disorders and empowering youth to become advocates for change. We are forming a Student-led Outreach Team that will conduct vaping prevention activities at local middle schools. Click li… Continue
RCASA & SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) are focused on preventing substance use disorders and empowering youth to become advocates for change. We are forming a Student-led Outreach Team that will conduct vaping prevention activities at local middle schools. Click link below for more info!
Reading YRBS Part II Presentation Tonight at School Committee
The RCASA Director will present data from the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey for Reading on safety, bullying and other health issues at 7pm.
Thurs April 5th- Alex's Story Featured at Reading Memorial High School
Students in 11th and 12th grade had the opportunity to view a unique presentation from Plymouth State University's TIGER Program on the issue of opioid awareness. Students learned about the impact of substance abuse and had the opportunity to ask questions.
Learn about prevention coalitions in Massachusetts
RCASA partners with many other coalitions in our region to share info, exchange resources, and co-host events. If you want to learn more about coalitions in other communities. There are coalitions that focus on a wide variety of health initiatives. Click the link below to searc… Continue
RCASA partners with many other coalitions in our region to share info, exchange resources, and co-host events. If you want to learn more about coalitions in other communities. There are coalitions that focus on a wide variety of health initiatives. Click the link below to search by region and community.

Past events

November 2017-"Jams for Jake" Highlights
November 2017-"Jams for Jake" Highlights

Jams was Jake was hosted on 11/12/17 by 'FRIENDS OF JAKE' with support from RCASA and community partners.  Check out Community Education

See below for some of the amazing posts from friends and family and highlights of the day from PicBear 

jams_art.jpg

"From Tim O with a pic of art of Caitlin Beckman...Earlier this year I lost one of my friends Jake to drug overdose. Sending love to all of my friends in the States for the amazing event they have put their heart to today. Of all the days I have spent in India today is the one I wish I could spend in the States because this event means so much. Music more than anything I know brings people together, this is as Jake would of wanted. #livemusic#livingabroad #jamsforjake #reading #01867#endthestigma #drugawareness#sendinglove #music #musicfestivial #India#BostonBreed #love #charity #Jake

pat_guitar_jams_for_jake.jpg

"Pat B., Friends of Jake Co-Organizer and Musician enjoys the day in memory of Jake @ Jams for Jake, 11/12/17. Benefit concert/community gathering to honor the music and life of Jake Czuczwa. I cant imagine how much work @wildgrownyogi and @___john__oliver___ and all the musicians, friends, family, and volunteers put into this, but they did an amazing job and I think they even ended up exceeding fundraising goals and expectations for turnout, too. Big ups you guys! #jfj#jamsforjake"

John_O_post_about_Jams.jpg

"From John O, Jake, we had a beautiful day today. Everyone who played music, everyone who helped out, everyone who came out to be together was directly touched by you and your powerful heart. I hope you were watching down on us, listening to your beautiful songs. Love you buddy. #jfj #jamsforjake #erasethestigma"

jake_guitar.jpg

From Lauren A., Friends of Jake Co-Organizer, Yesterday, two sweet older women called me over to talk to them. They explained they knew Jake from when he worked at Starbucks. "He was OUR barista" they said. They were both nearly in tears with how touched they were to see his friends hosting this event in his honor, and perfectly expressed one of the things that made Jake so special... "Even from short conversations every morning, we felt like we knew him. He was just such an open person with a big heart." I am not surprised at the huge success that was the 1st annual #jamsforjake, for that exact reason. Feeling thankful for everyone that helped pull this thing off, for everyone that played, and for everyone who came out to celebrate Jake and his music. Love and miss you, Jake. I treasure the many memories I have with you, and hope we kept your spirit alive yesterday. Even your Starbucks regulars came out to share how much they loved you. 24 years and yet your legacy is one of profound love and openness, and !awesome music. Still feeling inspired.#jfj #endthestigma #missyoufriend #livemusic #artauction #youguysrock #comebacknextyear

See more pics at http://www.picbear.eu/tag.php?tag=jamsforjake

Press about the event

Press_Release_-_11.12.17_rescheduled_Jams_for_Jake.pdf

Jams For Jake Honors a Memory, Continues a Discussion

https://patch.com/massachusetts/reading/jams-jake-honors-memory-continues-discussion

Sept. 28, 2017- Watch Dr. Ruth Potee's Talk on Addiction
Sept. 28, 2017- Watch Dr. Ruth Potee's Talk on Addiction

Watch the RCTV Broadcast of Dr. Potee's presentation in Reading @ RCASA Annual Meeting https://youtu.be/UrNfyaL3Bv8?t=45m43s

Watch the full RCASA Annual Meeting, which includes DA Marian Ryan and Dr. Potee https://youtu.be/UrNfyaL3Bv8

As promised, Dr. Potee has allowed us to share her presentation from the 11th Annual RCASA Meeting.  Thank you to all that attended and to Dr. Potee for her insight and knowledge. 

Dr._Potee_Community_Talk_2017-2018.pdf

Dr. Ruth Potee is board certified in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine, she is a physician with Valley Medical Group in Greenfield, providing a full scope of family medicine with special interests in women’s health, pediatrics, addiction treatment, psychiatric illness, and pain management.  Dr. Potee is nationally recognized for her public speaking style that skillfully blends scientific research with an understanding of the challenges of raising healthy teens.  She is an extremely dynamic and sought after speaker who, in response to the ongoing opioid epidemic, has made it her mission to educate the public about the nature of addiction and why it is the only brain disease that is 100% preventable…“It’s chemistry, not character”.  

Learn more about Dr. Potee's work at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjyvRQFbseQ

More recovery month events at Community Education

 

Oct. 17, 2017- Lynn Lyons Event on Anxiety Recap
Oct. 17, 2017- Lynn Lyons Event on Anxiety Recap

Lynn_Lyons.jpg

Lynn Lyons, Author and Therapist presented an insightful workshop to an audience of 300 adults, including parents and school staff on October 17, 2017 from 6-8 p.m.  Lynn addressed the "Worry Cycle" including strategies for teens and their parents on managing anxiety.

Visit www.lynnlyonsnh.com

Learn more about her books, DVDs, and online resources 

http://www.lynnlyonsnh.com/books-videos/

 

Book Titles co-authored by Lynn Lyons and mentioned at the event:

ANXIOUS KIDS, ANXIOUS PARENTS:7 WAYS TO STOP THE WORRY CYCLE AND
RAISE COURAGEOUS & INDEPENDENT CHILDREN

PLAYING WITH ANXIETY:CASEY’S GUIDE FOR TEENS AND KIDS

Event materials

10.17.17.Lynn_Lyons_workshop_flyer.jpg

Press_Release_Lynn_Lyons.10.11.17.pdf

INTERFACE REFERRAL SERVICE- Get connected to mental health services!
INTERFACE REFERRAL SERVICE- Get connected to mental health services!
Do you know someone who could overdose from pain medication or heroin?
If so, ask a pharmacist today about getting Naloxone. Naloxone can reverse the effects of an overdose from opioids. It could also save a life. It’s available in a few forms. It’s easy to use and training is available if you want it.
Send an anonymous tip to Reading PD
Bring unwanted Rx to Reading Police 24/7 Dropbox
Dispose of your meds properly, protect the environment & help reduce prescription drug misuse. Store any remaining bottles safely & away from children/teens.

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Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse  15 Union Street  Reading, MA 01867
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