Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi led a public forum in Southwick on the opioid epidemic in western Massachusetts.
Sheriff Cocchi said Monday’s forum was about showing people what to watch for, and where they can find help.
The county sheriff headlined a Southwick Rotary Club forum on the opioid epidemic at the event.
Sheriff Cocchi said his office is now accepting people committed by the courts for addiction treatment, saying it was unacceptable people could only get the help they need in the eastern part of the state.
One Southwick mother said her son overcame addiction but finding a treatment bed was a major challenge.
“He went to four or five different rehabs,” said Christine Granfield of Southwick. “The beds, he was lucky, because now they’re even further and few. He’s going to the meetings, he’s a sponsor. There is a bright side at the end because my son has been through it.”
Sheriff Cocchi told 22News 85 percent of the county’s inmates had a substance abuse disorder. Wednesday’s forum highlighted the warning signs, and where to go for help.
“If you don’t know about it, or you haven’t heard about somebody who is struggling with it, your head is probably buried in the sand,” Sheriff Cocchi told 22News. “What are the signs? What are some of the behaviors? So we can get people the treatment and the help that they need, so they don’t have to go down the path of criminal behavior.”
The forum included information on local treatment options and Narcan administration.