Understanding Drug Addiction and Life-Saving Help Focus of Programs, Starting Monday

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Understanding more about addiction and receiving training to help save people are two programs being organized by Eammon’s Heart in Haverhill, with the first on Monday.

“Heart to Heart: Surviving the Storm” is described as “A discussion on the drug crisis and how to help your children survive it.” It takes place Monday, Feb. 27, from 6-8 p.m., in the Johnson Auditorium at Haverhill Public Library, 99 Main St. Founder Helen Sheehan’s son Eammon died from an overdose in 2019. Eammon’s organs, including his heart, were donated to five people. Sheehan appeared this week on WHAV’s “Win for Breakfast” program.

Monday nights’ speakers are Evan McGee, placement specialist at Acadia Healthcare; Nomsa Ncube from The Verge Youth Leadership program; Colin F. LePage, former Haverhill city councilor and parent; Phil Lahey of the Merrimack Valley Prevention and Substance Abuse Project and parent; and Dr. Sunny Kung, addiction specialist at the Massachusetts General Brigham Bridge Clinic on Primrose Street in Haverhill.

“I think I’ve picked speakers from different areas of the problem here. I’m interested to hear what Dr. Sunny says. I don’t always understand addiction as much as I dealt with it in my own home. But she’s basically going to break it down and let us know it’s a function of biology. And, that’s about as much as I know right now. I think it’s easy to mistake that a lot of times it’s a choice. It really is a disease,” she says.

Narcan training takes place Tuesday, March 7, from 6-7 p.m., in the Conference Room at the Pentucket Medical, 1 Park Way, Haverhill. Sheehan says those attending will be given Narcan kits put together by Eammon’s Heart.

“You will be trained on the use of Narcan, and there’s a one-hour presentation by MassGeneral Brigham’s Clinic. It will address addiction. We so often go straight to fentanyl and heroin, but this is pills in the cabinet. This is anything. I don’t think we always pay attention to it,” she says.

Sheehan adds she is also offering the Narcan training at Northern Essex Community College in April with additional sessions to be offered in the next academic year.

Reservations are requested at eammonsheart.org.

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