Learn to Cope saved my life: Taunton Families Affected by Opioids Meet with the Attorney General

Learn to Cope saved my life: Taunton Families Affected by Opioids Meet with the Attorney General

TAUNTON, MA — Attorney General Maura Healey has been working with Learn to Cope for eight years, and she says that each year their experiences help her office combat the opioid crisis.

“We love you guys. “You help drive so much of our office,” Healey said.

On Wednesday, Healey paid visits to River to Recovery, a drug abuse treatment program in Fall River, and New Bedford Harbor before concluding her tour at Learn to Cope’s Taunton office.

Learn to Cope (LTC)

Learn to Cope (LTC) is a non-profit support group that provides information, tools, and peer support to parents and family members who are dealing with a loved one’s substance abuse or other drug addiction.

Regional managers, facilitators, and family members were present.

According to Healey, her office is pressing for increased funding for behavioral health treatment for people suffering from opioid addiction.

Healey paused to hear the experiences of folks who had been personally harmed by a loved one’s substance abuse.

Jim Derek, a Learn to Cope member, expressed gratitude that Healey and her administration are striving to provide additional support for people suffering from opiate addiction and mental illness.

Derek has been directly affected since a family member has struggled with opiate addiction.

“I could not fix him, but I was able to fix myself,” he said.

“Learn to Cope saved my life.”

Joanne Peterson, the nonprofit’s founder and executive director, founded the group in 2004. It has since expanded to 25 chapters across Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health funds the network (MADPH).

It’s been a long journey and a lot of effort, but Peterson is humbled and appreciative of the job she does to assist individuals and families recover from opiate addictions.

She said her goal is to try to help them “keep their heads above water and survive.”

Because of the pandemic, Peterson stated that many sessions had to be held virtually. She called the change a “blessing in disguise” because it made it easier for more members to attend meetings.

According to Peterson, the group is free to join and anybody can get a hold of resources as well as understand the signs and symptoms of an overdose.

Peterson was chosen for CNN’s Champions for Change, a week-long series that will be broadcast this Saturday and features ingenious people breaking down long-standing obstacles.

“We are grateful for the attorney general to come by and visit,” Peterson said.

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