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Substance abuse dialogue set for Wednesday

The Winchester Coalition For A Safer Community is scheduled to hold a community dialogue Wednesday aimed at understanding the interconnectedness of opioid and other substance abuses, mental health, and self-harming behaviors. “The influx of heroin and other drugs into this quiet town has raised alarms about actual drug and substance use and abuse in town, related criminal activity, and concerns about personal safety and mental and physical health,” coalition director Christa Russo said in a statement e-mailed to the Globe. The dialogue, to be held at McCall Middle School, 458 Main St., from 7 to 8:30 p.m., will feature a 45-minute panel presentation followed by a 45-minute question-and-answer period. Speakers will share current statistical information about drug-related crime; discuss the correlation between mental health issues and self-harming behaviors; talk about the Youth Risk Behavior Survey; and share innovations in treatment and therapy programs. “The goal of this community dialogue is to bring the key players together to share information with the public, and get the conversation started about what can be done to curb the problems associated with this substance abuse,” said Russo. Presenters include police and fire officials, members of the probation department of the Woburn District Court, educators, Winchester Hospital representatives, and a behavioral health specialist. Town Meeting moderator Peter Haley will moderate the panel discussions and lead the question-and-answer session. For more information, contact the Coalition’s program manager, Dot Butler, at butlermail@aol.com.

Brenda Buote can be reached at brenda.buote@gmail.com.