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Massachusetts — The 10th Annual HEAT (Heroin Education Awareness Task Force) Conference will be held on Friday June, 17th, at the Hilton Hotel, 2 Forbes Road, Woburn, at 8 a.m. The registration deadline is Monday, June 9th.
Woburn District Court Chief Probation Officer Vincent Piro and Probation Officer Michael Higgins, who recently retired, first created HEAT a little more than a decade ago when Piro and Higgins began to witness opioid addiction increase among young adults, 17 to 25 years old, followed by fatal and near fatal overdoses in the community. The mission of the program, then and now, is to prevent drug use; provide education about addiction, its signs and stages; as well as find substance abuse treatment resources for addicts. HEAT is responsible for educating 6,000 people and finding treatment (detox beds) for 3,000 individuals over the last 10 years, according to Piro.
This year’s HEAT Conference is a continuance of this work and will feature keynote speakers Steve Wood, a toxicologist and clinical nurse practitioner in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Winchester Hospital; Dr. Ruth Potee, a treatment specialist at Valley Medical Group in Greenfield; as well as Brian Tague, a former addict in recovery, who is managing a local recovery home. Each year, more than 300 human services and law enforcement personnel attend this event.
“We are passionate about educating as many people as possible. If we can stop a person before they put a needle in their arm, we have accomplished our goal in stopping the progression of the addiction and ultimately are saving lives,” Piro said.
“The HEAT Conference brings law enforcement, treatment specialists, parents, and educators to the table to discuss the most up-to-date treatment options and substance abuse trends. The conference is an important forum where participants can work together to devise a plan to address this public health issue that is impacting communities across the Commonwealth,” said Probation Commissioner Edward J. Dolan. “The HEAT Program is a very important resource in this fight against addiction.”
Visit this link to register for the conference.