Opioids, Alcohol and Weed: What Parents Need to Know

GREAT BARRINGTON _ Dr. Jennifer Michaels will present “Opioids, Alcohol and Weed: What Parents Need to Know” on the impact of substances on the developing brain at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, November 2, at 7 p.m.

Dr. Michaels, the medical director of the Brien Center, will also discuss strategies to help foster healthy decisions as children navigate their path to adulthood. A panel of local specialists will answer questions from the audience following her presentation.

The event is free and open to the public. Child care services will be provided at Fuel on Main Street.

“The opioid epidemic has raised the stakes for all of us,” says Erik Bruun, chairman of the South Berkshire Community Health Advisory Board that is the lead sponsor for the event. “This event is a step toward embracing knowledge for parents and the community to make more informed decisions to increase the likelihood of our children leading successful lives.”

The panel will include Railroad Street Youth Project Executive Director Ananda Timpane, Dr. Brenda Butler (a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Berkshire Medical Center and the Brien Center), Monument Mountain Regional High School Principal Marianne Young, Mount Everett High School Principal Glen Devoti, as well as two young people from South County.

“We all dream that our children will grow up to be happy, healthy, intelligent members of society,” says Michaels, “and we all know that decisions about substance use can derail those dreams.”

Michaels is an attending psychiatrist at Berkshire Medical Center, assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and a national mentor for the Physician Clinical Support System, a program providing training to physicians in the addiction field. A frequent guest on WAMC, she is a committed educator on topics related to mental health, mindfulness and addictions. She lives in Berkshire County with her husband and two sons.

The event is being sponsored by the South Berkshire Community Health Coalition, Railroad Street Youth Project and the Berkshire Hills and Southern Berkshire regional school districts. The coalition consists of a wide array of community agencies including BRIDGE, Berkshire Health Systems, and the towns and police departments from Great Barrington, Sheffield, Egremont and Stockbridge.