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Recovery Breakfast to Feature Walsh and Former ‘drug Czar’

September 3, 2018

LOWELL -- Lowell House continues to bring in high-profile speakers for its annual Recovery Breakfast, this time welcoming Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and former Obama administration “drug czar” Michael Botticelli.

They’ll headline the Sept. 25 celebration, where they’ll share their own stories of addiction and the success they’ve found in recovery.

Lowell House CEO William Garr said the organization is excited to have Walsh and Botticelli for the fourth year of the event, which serves as a celebration of triumph over drugs and alcohol for those in recovery and the people who care about them.

The two men are fine examples of this year’s theme, “People in Recovery Changing the World,” Garr said. He said both have been up front about their struggles with alcoholism and how far they’ve come.

“It’s not about the deaths we have. It’s not about the tragedy and how families suffer,” Garr said. “It’s about people who make it through and do great things in their recovery -- and had we given up on them, it never would have happened.”

Keynote speaker Walsh, in his second term as mayor of Boston, previously served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1997 to 2014. He’ll be introduced by Botticelli, who served three years as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under Obama and is now executive director of the Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center.

Attendees will also hear local voices of recovery, including a young couple who met and fell in love in recovery and are helping each other through it, Garr said. A parent with a child in recovery will also provide that perspective, he said.

Past speakers at the event have included Gov. Charlie Baker, Kitty Dukakis and WBZ radio host Dan Rea. Each brought a different perspective on addiction, how it’s covered by the media and state efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, Garr said.

The event comes on the heels of news that fatal overdoses are down in Lowell, one of the cities hit hardest by the epidemic.

At least 49 Lowell residents died of a fatal opioid-related overdose last year, a 27 percent drop over 2016, according to the state Department of Public Health. A similar drop was reported in the number of people who suffered a fatal overdose while physically within the city limits -- 56 in 2017, down from 78 in 2016.

A gradual decline in opioid-related deaths is also being seen statewide, with 1,909 deaths in 2017, compared to 2,089 the year before.

The Lowell House Recovery Breakfast will be held at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center from 7:30-9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 25. Tickets are $40 per person or $360 for a table of 10.

For tickets and sponsorship information, visit lowellhouseinc.org or call Christina Wallace at 978-459-8656 ext. 125.

Follow Alana Melanson at facebook.com/alana.lowellsun or on Twitter @alanamelanson.

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