New center services designed to help Fall River fight addictions

The city hall of Fall River, known as Government Center. (Photo by Andrew Adamson, WPRI-TV)

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — As the United States fights a growing number of addictions — many related to opioid medications — the city of Fall River is establishing a part-time center focused on giving people resources and help to fight the grip of addiction. It comes after a pilot program in the city was classified a success.

The city announced Tuesday the “Greater Fall River Addiction Help Center” will be opening this month as an ongoing resource.

“Anywhere you go in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts today, any person you speak to knows somebody that’s been affected, or knows a family member or a friend that’s been affected by addiction,” Mayor Jasiel Correia said at the announcement. “But it’s affected places like Fall River — urban areas — pretty hard.”

The help center will not cost the city any extra funding. It will be held at Government Center every last Thursday of the month, bringing together local providers to help those in need of services within 72 hours. The first day of operation will be June 29.

“I know the intense fear that comes with having a loved one with an opioid addiction,” said Laura Godwin of the coalition Recover Fall River, which is dedicated to destigmatizing addiction and improving access to resources. “It’s a state of constant anxiety, like watching a small child play in traffic.”

“These fears are justified by the numbers,” Godwin added. “Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 50.”

Volunteer Mike Bryant had this message for anyone hesitant about seeking help: “If you’re still struggling, and you need a service, and you’re worried about stigmas, and how you’re going to be looked at — I can tell you that you don’t need to worry about that. I can tell you that everybody there [at the center] is willing and wants to help. I can tell you that you’re not alone.”