This week, we’re doing something a little different. We invite anyone and everyone to stop by the bandshell at Deering Oaks Park on Sunday, May 7 and enjoy fun music, fresh spring weather, and—this is the serious part—to learn more about the dangers of fentanyl and what you can do to save lives and help end the substance use epidemic.

There are at least two strategies we see that will save lives and help people access treatment. First is practical. An already dangerous substance has now been infiltrated with fentanyl and other lethal fillers. We need more people aware of the dangers of illegal drugs, and we need more access to life-saving fentanyl test kits and overdose reversing drugs like Narcan. You will find those resources at the Sunday event. The next solution is a little more complex.

Community connections, socializing, makes us healthier in so many ways. In fact, earlier this week the U.S. Surgeon General released a report to declare that our country has a loneliness epidemic. Across age groups, we are spending less face-to-face time with our friends and family than we were 20 years ago. With-out social stimulation, our brain capacity reduces, leading to physical and mental health issues, like depression or anxiety, which in turn, can lead to substance use.

You can be a direct part of the solution because the opposite of addiction is community. “Communities with higher levels of social connection typically enjoy significantly better health outcomes,” read the Surgeon General’s report. Because substance use disorder is not bound by age, gender, ethnicity, income, or zip code, stronger social connections and resource sharing with our neighbors and loved ones will create a pathway to health for anyone struggling with this disease.

Thank you for reading and we hope to see you at Deering Oaks this Sunday, to have a good time, meet new people, strengthen connections, and continue to recognize our individual responsibility to make our whole community a better place.

For more info contact Tom Ranello 207-838-1651