Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, PainCare, New Hampshire stated that he started PeopleCare, a non-profit organization, about four years ago, largely in response to the epidemic of opioid addiction in our ...
Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, PainCare, New Hampshire stated that he started PeopleCare, a non-profit organization, about four years ago, largely in response to the epidemic of opioid addiction in our communities. We were already treating addiction as it developed, but had no tool to attempt prevention. The PeopleCare mission is to connect with youth before rampant experimentation with illicit drugs, for the purpose of giving them facts in a manner they will be able to digest.
According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, one in eight young adults in the State reported abusing pain relievers during the past year. PeopleCare’s premise is that if sufficiently armed with knowledge, most kids will not get into trouble. They may still experiment, but will avoid the ravages of addiction. PeopleCare believes in free unfettered exchanges between vulnerable adolescents at risk and young recovering addicts. Unlike DARE and other well intentioned drug programs, PeopleCare strives to not impede education by inserting adults into the process. Rather than kids following the advice of adults, as we all know, many choose to do the exact opposite of that advice. In contrast, when kids hear the often gripping and always tragic stories from our addicts, who are often within a year or two of the same age, they tend to buy and not reject the message.
People become addicted to prescription drugs every day and some die from overdose. It is a serious problem that cannot be solved by the failed approaches of the past. We deliver the truth. It is up to our audience members to use this information as they see fit. PeopleCare divides its activities into the following categories: Live Educational Presentations, Public Service Announcements, Televised Programming, and Professional Forums.
PeopleCare provides free educational presentations using the latest scientific and statistical information available. Our presentations are led by certified treatment experts and feature recovering addicts who relate their stories of addiction to the audience. PeopleCare strives to not dictate, but to inform, and allow the kids to think for themselves, armed with information. Early middle schoolers are targeted. After a very brief overview by a moderator, the addicts then run the discussion sessions which are wide open in a Q&A format. Kids get to sound off, vent, and generally offload in a confidential setting, almost entirely free of adult presence. Feedback from teachers and audience has been extremely positive, with most schools requesting regular follow up visits from PeopleCare.
Beginning in 2015, PeopleCare will conduct the First Annual PSA Video Contest for New Hampshire high school students. This initiative gives students an opportunity to display their video production skills and their creative messages on the topic of prescription drug abuse. Winning videos will appear on local cable television, prizes will be awarded to teams of up to four students, and they will be posted to our website
PeopleCare also sponsors an innovative public access program on MetroCast Cable called Addiction Today. The program uses a one-on-one interview style format that explores addiction-related issues from a variety of perspectives. Past guests have included addiction professionals, recovering addicts, law enforcement officials, parents of recovering addicts, state officials, and others.
Fighting to win the battle against prescription drug abuse depends upon the coordinated activity of a broad array of community groups. PeopleCare brings together experts from law enforcement, healthcare, education, government, and other sectors to help facilitate coordinated action in order to bring about a strategic response to the prescription drug abuse crisis.