Opioid addicts, families can find help, support at Great Barrington community center


GREAT BARRINGTON — Addicts battling opioid addiction, as well as their families and caregivers, can find support and information at the Berkshire South Community Center.

A group, which calls itself D.O.P.E., for Discussing Our Personal Experiences, meets from 7 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday, according to Darcie Sosa, director of marketing at the Community Center.

"Everyone is welcome," said Jenise Lucey, executive director at the center. She said the meetings are for individuals battling addiction who may need help, as well as their families and friends.

They attendees do not have to be residents of Great Barrington, she said. All local residents are welcome.

The Berkshires, like communities across the country, are in the grip of an opioid crisis. Many towns are seeking to find ways to provide families and individuals with more help.

"We want to start a conversation," Lucey said. "Whether we realize it or not, this is something that's happening here."

The meetings are coordinated by Jennifer Wheeler, a recovering heroin addict. Wheeler started a D.O.P.E. Facebook community that now has more than 500 members.

Wheeler sometimes brings speakers, Lucey said. But the meetings also are held for people to talk about their own experiences and share them.

The group has been meeting for a few weeks, Lucey said. Last week, she said, Wheeler brought her mother, who spoke of her experiences with her daughter.

The meetings "are eye-opening," Lucey said. "Sometimes they are inspirational."

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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