To the editor of THE EAGLE:

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), "Scientific research since the mid-1970s shows that treatment can help patients addicted to drugs stop using, avoid relapse and successfully recover their lives." And in terms of the fundamentals and efficacy of treatment, the NIDA reports, "Effective treatment programs typically incorporate many components, each directed to a particular aspect of the illness and its consequences." The primary service provider in Berkshire County that offers such focused treatment is the Brien Center.

Serving more than 10,000 men, women and children each year, the Brien Center is a community-based, nonprofit agency with a 90-year-plus history of providing emergency as well as comprehensive, recovery-based, culturally competent, community-based services to those suffering from serious and persistent mental health, substance use and co-occurring disorders. By working in partnership with state agencies, individuals, families, and other providers, the center focuses on access, care, treatment, recovery and to giving people back their independence and a quality of life which enables them to live, work and participate in our communities in a healthy, positive way.

On Thursday, Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice (BCP&J) will host two representatives from the Center: Paul Hickling, division director for Adult and Family Services, and Denise Galvagni, division director for Community Services. These guests are the eighth in a series originating with the February, 2013, gathering at BCC to explore the ways in which various agencies in Berkshire County are working to reduce violence. Galvagni and Hickling will describe relevant initiatives in their divisions, followed by a period of discussion. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsfield at 175 Wendell St. and is free and open to the public.

Thursday’s informational workshop may shed important light on how community members can get involved and support the Brien Center as it strives to help people who suffer with mental illness and addiction reclaim their lives before it is too late.

For more information about Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice and the Brien Center, visit www.bcpj.org and www.briencenter.org

BRIAN J. TRAUTMAN

Pittsfield

Brian J. Trautman teaches peace studies and economics courses at Berkshire Community College. He is also a member of Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice. On Twitter: @BriTraut.