North End Against Drugs (NEAD) and the North End Waterfront (NEW) Health Center held our annual Drug Awareness Day at St. John School on Friday, May 24 for close to 100 middle school age students.

Both agencies partner with the Boston Police Area A-1, Eliot School, St. John School, and several other agencies to provide critical information, experiences and advice to youth at both schools in the North End.

Lorraine Fitzgerald and the Recovery Group members.

Powerful messages were presented to the students from four members of the NEW Health’s Recovery Group in Charlestown. They shared their personal experiences and situations with the students, begging them not to get involved with drugs or alcohol and never, ever be afraid to ask for help!

Other speakers included Dr. Martha McLaughlin from NEW Health who spoke on the issues and concerns associated with vaping; Jim Hooley, Director of Boston EMS; a detective from the Boston Police Drug Unit; and, new this year, Marybeth Murray a former probation officer, spoke about her personal story and issues with alcohol – how it cost her her job, six months in jail, and almost killed a man on a motorcycle.

Also addressing the students were Director of NEW Health James Luisi and President of North End Against Drugs John Romano.

Students listen to speakers at the event.

The key message to the students was that help is available if you are having trouble, do not turn to drugs and alcohol – it never helps, just compounds the problems or issues you are dealing with.

NEAD would like to thank all of the speakers as well as Mary Wright and Zach Goodale for organizing the event. Special thanks go to Robin Sidell of North Street Grille who donated the cost of the event through her neighborhood night of giving at North Street Grille this winter.

Thanks also to North End Against Drugs board members who helped organize and participated in the 2019 Drug Awareness Day: John Romano, Karen D’Amico, Ann Fitzgerald, Officer Ted Boyle, BCYF Director Stephen Siciliano, Maria Lanza, Maria Michlewitz, Olivia Scimeca and Zach Goodale. Also to NEW Health staff: Norma Reppucci and Lorraine Fitzgerald.

NEAD appreciates the help and support of Eliot School Principal Traci Griffith and St. John School Principal Karen McLaughlin, as well as their teachers and staff in helping us organize this great event for the students of both schools.

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