Attention students! The 2019-2020 FAFSA is open. Submit by February 15th. Apply here for Financial Aid



Road to recovery

Road to recovery

Westfield State event takes active stand against addiction

WESTFIELD, Mass., April 21, 2016- In an effort to take an active role in alleviating the state-wide opioid crisis, Westfield State University and AdCare Hospital will hold a film screening of “THE ANONYMOUS PEOPLE” followed by a panel discussion on Monday, April 25 at 6 p.m. in Dever Auditorium in Parenzo Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

“THE ANONYMOUS PEOPLE” is a documentary about the 23.5 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. The story is told through the many different faces and voices of the leaders, volunteers, corporate executives, and celebrities.

“The movie discusses the stigma of addiction, the current lack of knowledge about people in long-term recovery, and the need for those invested in addiction recovery to unite efforts to petition our elected officials in passing comprehensive addiction recovery legislation,” said event organizers Susan Leggett, chair of the communication department and Nora Padykula, associate professor of social work.

According to Faces and Voices of Recovery, each day, 129 Americans die from drug overdose, more than half from prescription drugs alone. While addiction is a treatable disease, only about 10 percent of individuals who need treatment are receiving it. Locally, at least four people die each day in Massachusetts from opiate overdoses.

The film screening and panel discussion are the direct result of a number of concerned faculty and staff on campus who have been meeting since February to discuss strategies to provide support and information to students, faculty, staff, and the greater community about addiction.

 “Addiction does not discriminate,” Leggett said. “Everyone is impacted by someone who is either addicted or loves someone who is addicted to alcohol or other drugs. Very few people do not know someone who is personally involved with an addiction in some way.”

The panel following the screening consists of local professionals who interact and work with addicts on a daily basis including: Sarah Camerota, LICSW, Carson Center In-Home Therapy Program; Brian Cahillane, LICSW, Westfield State University Counseling Center; Cora Chase, LMHC, CADAC, AdCare Hospital & Outpatient Programs; Tom Medlar, LMHC, LMFT, New England Geriatrics; Annie Parkinson, MA, Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery; and Ely Bianchet, BSW, Western MA Recovery Learning Community.

Westfield State’s event is unique in that in focuses on recovery, an aspect of addiction not commonly addressed in public conversations.

“Audience members should take away a sense of hope that addiction is both treatable and long-term recovery is far more common than is represented in the media,” Padykula said. “The panelists will discuss how people can access treatment for children and families, adolescents, adults, and elders needing addiction treatment or support for those concerned about ones addiction.”

Audience members will have the opportunity to ask panel members questions about addiction and recovery. Additionally, the event will have a resource area containing educational materials and information on area treatment services, peer recovery support groups, family resources, and how to engage in political advocacy to increase funding for addiction.

Social workers and addiction counselors who attend the event will receive 2.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

The event was organized by Westfield State University’s Counseling Center and the Departments of Social Work and Communication, with the support from the Office of the President, in collaboration with AdCare Hospital. For more information, please contact Nora Padykula at (413) 572-8239 or or Susan Leggett 413-572-5238 or