MGH Marks Recovery Month with Education Series Events

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) will join millions of people across America in recognizing National Recovery Month.

Led by the MGH Substance Use Disorders Initiative (SUDs) – a group devoted to enhancing SUD treatment in the inpatient and outpatient setting – MGH will host a series of events throughout September to raise awareness of prevention, treatment and recovery support services.

“Recovery Month resonates with the hospital’s larger mission to highlight advances in the field of addiction medicine and to bring attention to the work that remains to be done to address this major source of suffering, burden and illness,” said Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president. “As an institution, we celebrate our patients whose struggles with addiction have become inspirational stories of recovery and our clinicians who have cared for those patients along the way.”

Events will be held at the hospital will begin with the official kick-off on Sept. 12 –  featuring Michael Botticelli, former director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and current executive director of the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine at the Boston Medical Center on the Bulfinch Lawn at 10 a.m. The kick off will highlight the vital role communities and families play in accessing treatment and achieving recovery. Attendees will get a glimpse into the interplay between family and patient, as told by the mother of an individual in recovery.

MGH will host eight panel discussions for clinicians, patients and the public on a range of issues related to substance use disorders, including the efficacy of medicated assisted treatment, support services for veteran and military families, and prevention efforts in the community.

Training in the administration of nasal naloxone (Narcan) – a prescription medication that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses overdose – will be conducted on Sept. 12, 22 and 26 at noon.

John F. Kelly, PhD, director the MGH Recovery Research Institute, will discuss the rationale for treating addiction as a chronic illness akin to diabetes on Sept.14 at noon at the Maxwell & Eleanor Blum Patient and Family Learning Center. The event is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

In 2016, an estimated 2,107 people died from opioid overdose in Massachusetts. Certain populations – such as those who have experienced homelessness, have been released from prisons and jails or pregnant women – are particularly vulnerable to overdose and death. While these numbers are staggering, recent Massachusetts state data is promising, showing 53 fewer deaths in the first six months of 2017 than over the same time period last year.

“We know addiction is a chronic and potentially fatal disease. In response, we have made remarkable changes in our approach to addiction care to improve the lives of our patients, but there’s still much work to be done.” said Sarah Wakeman, MD, of the MGH Substance Use Disorders Initiative. “Recovery Month is opportunity to highlight messages of hope we see in our patients daily while spreading awareness about the effectiveness of treatment and our continued fight against stigma every day.”

Highlighted events include Friday, Sept. 15, at 12:30 p.m.: Lynn Paltrow, the executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women will discuss her expertise the field of advocacy, public education, and research on behalf of vulnerable groups of pregnant and parenting women, especially women of color, women of low-income, and women with substance use disorder will in “Addressing Maternal, Fetal, and Child Health in the Midst of the Opioid Epidemic.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 8 a.m., MGH employees, patients and community members will participate in the MOAR & Friends Statewide Recovery Day March and Celebration coordinated by the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR). Participants will meet at the in the MGH East Garden Room walk to the Boston Common where the March to Faneuil Hall will begin.

On Thursday, Sept. 28, at 11 a.m., Georgia Stathopoulou, PhD of the West End Clinic, will discuss the numerous effective treatment options available to those seeking help with addiction in “There is Treatment; Treatment Works.”

Complete information about MGH Recovery Month events is available online at

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