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News Brief: Dr. Jennifer Michaels to give presentation on ‘Opioids, Alcohol and Weed: What Parents Need to Know’

By Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016 News 3

Dr. Jennifer Michaels.

Dr. Jennifer Michaels.

Great Barrington — In the week before election day, when Massachusetts voters will weigh in on whether to legalize marijuana, Dr. Jennifer Michaels, medical director at the Brien Center, will offer a presentation on “Opioids, Alcohol and Weed: What Parents Need to Know.” The program will take place Wednesday, November 2 at 7 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on Castle Street.Michaels will talk about the impact of substances on the developing brain. The talk will also discuss strategies to help foster healthy decisions as children navigate their paths to adulthood. A panel of local specialists will answer questions from the audience following Michaels’ presentation.

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

“The opioid epidemic has raised the stakes for all of us,” said Erik Bruun, chairman of the South Berkshire Community Health Advisory Board, 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; Mt. Everett Regional High School Principal Glenn Devoti; and two young people from South County.

“We all dream that our children will grow up to be happy, healthy, intelligent members of society,” Michaels said, “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 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 Multicultural BRIDGE; Berkshire Health Systems; and the police departments from Great Barrington, Sheffield, Egremont and Stockbridge.

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