City Hosts Events for National Recovery Month in September

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In observance of National Recovery Month, Cambridge is hosting events in September to raise awareness about mental and substance use disorders; celebrate individuals in recovery; and acknowledge the work of prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.

Cambridge Recovery Month activities are hosted by the Cambridge Public Health Department, the City Manager’s Office, and the Mayor’s Office.

“We want to bring attention to addiction, an issue that’s often stigmatized and misunderstood,” said Claude Jacob, the city’s chief public health officer and director of the Cambridge Public Health Department. “Many people with substance use disorder experience shame and guilt because they have internalized a societal belief that they are to blame for their disease―and may not seek treatment as a result.”

In 2018, there were 11 confirmed opioid-related deaths among Cambridge residents and many more nonfatal overdoses. Encouragingly, the state’s overdose death rate has continued to decline from its peak in 2016.

A community that is educated about substance use issues is better able to support people who need it,” said City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “Cambridge is dedicated to creating that community and National Recovery Month is a vital part of this mission. I am proud of the work that the Cambridge Public Health Department does year-round to support the well-being of our community.”

This past spring, the City Manager's Opioid Working Group issued recommendations for strengthening Cambridge's response to the opioid crisis.  In June, the city manager established a Substance Use Advisory Committee that will be responsible for implementing the report recommendations. The committee’s inaugural meeting will be held in October.

Advisory members will participate in meetings and discussions to advise the City Manager on implementation strategies and next steps pertaining to the city’s harm reduction efforts.

Cambridge is already involved in efforts to encourage and maintain residents’ recovery. For the past three years, the Cambridge Police Department’s PARTNER (Providing Access to Resources, Treatment Needs, and Education for Recovery) Initiative has been following up with people with addiction disorders and supporting those who decide to enter treatment. The team includes the department’s Special Investigations Unit, patrol officers, and a licensed social worker who connects motivated individuals with appropriate treatment centers and helps coordinate care.

“This September, we want to celebrate that there is life after addiction,” said Mayor Marc McGovern. “Recovery is possible, and everyone affected by substance use disorder needs and deserves the support to get there.”

For questions about Recovery Month events, contact Tali Schiller ( at the Cambridge Public Health Department. For information about the department’s substance use prevention programs, contact Mary Kowalczuk ( at the Cambridge Public Health Department.


A Celebration of Life and Survival

September 6, 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

Carl Barron Plaza, Central Square

A memorial to honor those we have lost to overdose and to celebrate the lives we have saved together as a community, hosted by the Access Drug User Health Program. Overdose prevention training will be offered as part of the event.

Overdose Prevention Training

September 16, 3 p.m.–4 p.m.

CHA Windsor Street Care Center

119 Windsor Street, second floor conference room

Join the Cambridge Public Health Department for a free class on overdose prevention and response. Participants will learn how to recognize and safely respond to an overdose. Trainings will be held monthly at locations around Cambridge. No RSVP is required. More information:

Opioid Spoon Exhibit

September 16–30

Cambridge Public Library (main branch)

449 Broadway

An 800-pound metal sculpture of a giant spoon used for opioids will make its home at the Cambridge Public Library (main branch) during the second half of September. It is part of artist and activist Domenic Esposito's tour to raise awareness about his family’s struggles and those of the thousands of families who have lost loved ones to the opioid epidemic. Mr. Esposito is the founder of the Opioid Spoon Project. The installation is sponsored by the Mayor’s Office.

City Hall Lights Up Purple

September 23–30

Cambridge City Hall

795 Massachusetts Ave.

Cambridge City Hall will be lit purple at night during the last week of September to remember the friends, family, and neighbors we have lost to addiction, to support and encourage people who are still struggling, and to celebrate people who have regained their health.

Fostering a Recovery-Friendly Workplace: A Lunchtime Lecture with Michael Botticelli

September 30, 12 p.m.–1 p.m.

Cambridge Public Library (main branch) Lecture Hall

449 Broadway

How is your company managing the impact of addiction in the workplace? Hear from nationally recognized speaker Michael Botticelli, the former Director of National Drug Control Policy at the White House under President Obama, on the current addiction crisis and its impact on our state. Attendees will leave with insights and tools to take a more proactive role in confronting the effects of addiction on their organization, as well as fostering a safe and recovery-friendly workplace and retaining healthy and productive employees. Space is limited, so please register for this event at

Central Square Branch Library Book Display

Month of September

Central Square Branch

45 Pearl Street

The Central Square branch of the Cambridge Public Library is showcasing books about substance use disorder and recovery to educate residents about the reality of the disease.

Media release available online

Event listings only:

Page was posted on 9/12/2019 9:51 AM
Page was last modified on 2/7/2020 12:26 PM
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