Public invited to 'Opioid Epidemic in Northwest Connecticut' program

A talk and visual presentation, “The Opioid Epidemic in Northwest Connecticut,” will be presented April 7 at 1 p.m. at Gunn Memorial Library on Wykeham Road in Washington.

John Simoncelli, Greenwoods Counseling Referrals executive director, and Maria Coutant Skinner, executive director of McCall Center for Behavioral Health, will lead the program sponsored by the Washington Democratic Town Committee. It is part of the John Millington Lecture Series.

In January 2019, the National Safety Council reported that for the first time on record the odds of accidentally dying from an opioid overdose in the United States are now greater than those of dying in an automobile accident.

How did that happen? What factors contributed to this addiction crisis? How is it impacting our local communities and what is being done to address the problem?

Simoncelli and Skinner and will discuss the current state of the opioid crisis with a focus on the Northwest corner of the state.

The speakers will share statistics detailing the impact of the epidemic on Litchfield County and describe how the region has responded.

Simoncelli, a licensed clinical social worker and licensed alcohol and drug counselor who has been working in the mental health field for over 13 years, holds master degrees in social work and public administration from the UConn.

He is a practicing mental health therapist and addiction specialist.

In 2017, he became the executive director of Greenwoods Counseling Referrals, a nonprofit social service agency located in Litchfield that offers mental health assessments and referrals to anyone that lives or works in Litchfield County.

Skinner, a licensed clinical social worker and executive director of the McCall Center for Behavioral Health, a private non-profit behavioral health treatment agency that serves northwestern Connecticut, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Springfield College and a master’s degree in social work at UConn.

She is an advocate for services and resources for traditionally underserved populations including those impacted by addiction and mental health issues.

For more information about the free program and RSVP, call 860-868-7586.