Comment Social Work 432: Inviting BSU Community to “Substance Use Awareness Day”

By Stephanie Dawber

Comment Contributor

For seniors Monica Cable and Tony Conde, the class social work 432 is more than just a typical class.

The entire course focuses on social work practice with communities and organizations. Together, these seniors have declared their mission to provide substance use awareness by creating a sense of community support at Bridgewater State University.

“Social work 432 offers us a unique community,” said Conde, who serves as the communicator for his social work group. “It’s not just a classroom since it engages us. We are able to figure out what we can accomplish as a main goal.”

This highly motivated class will host an event titled “Substance Use Awareness Day,” that will begin in the Burnell Atrium on Tuesday April 22. Participants can expect a variety of information tables and refreshments.

From 1-4 p.m. nine local organizations have volunteered to come out and support the event, such as Wicked Sober, Bamsi, Anthony’s Fight, Zero Tolerance Recovery, Stepping Stone, Trundy Institute, STARR and Brockton Area Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative.

The second segment of the event is from 5 to 8 p.m. Starting at 5 p.m., there will be a vigil walk from the Moakley Center to the Conant Auditorium.

Afterwards there will be three speakers, with Boston native Matt Ganem headlining the speakers. Ganem writes poetry about his past experience struggling with drugs. He recently published a novel called “The Shadow of an Addict.”

According to Ganem, his performances will consist of “descriptively detailing vivid images from my past experiences in a way that people can relate to. A spoken word artist, I bring the words I put down on paper to life behind a mic.”

“We hope this event will raise awareness and community involvement,” Cable said. “Our slogan is S.T.O.P [Substance Takes Over People].”

Substance abuse is not just a school issue, but impacts the community as a whole. Based on 2008-2009 combined data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.6 percent of the Massachusetts population 12 and older were either dependent on or abused drugs or alcohol in the past year. That number for 18-25 year olds was 23.4 percent.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in one recent year “approximately 27,000 unintentional drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, one death every 19 minutes.”

These statistics advocate that the event and work the social work 432 class is doing is worthwhile.

“This class hopes to provide the BSU community with a sense of support by connecting everyone and to those who want to be helped,” Conde said.

Bridgewater State’s “Substance Use Awareness Day” is sponsored by the School of Social Work, Institute of Social Justice and BAMSI.

Stephanie Dawber is a Comment Contributor. Editor-in-Chief Greg Dudek edited this story. Email him at gdudek@student.bridgew.edu.

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