Board of Health to Hold Information Session on Syringe Access Program

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the Board of Health will hold a community information session on a syringe access program that is scheduled to be voted on in March.

The topic of a proposed syringe access program in the city has been discussed in the both the Board of Health and City Council’s Public Health and Safety Committee meetings since August 2016.

The upcoming session will provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about the proposed initiative. The session will begin at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Berkshire Athenaeum located at 1 Wendell Ave. Mayor Linda Tyer will provide a brief overview and will be followed by Gina Armstrong, the city’s Director of Public Health, who will speak on the city’s need for enhanced services for those living with heroin addiction, the board’s role in initiating a syringe access program, and the implementation process. The discussion will also include the following panelists:

  • Jennifer Kimball, Public Health Planner, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and BOAPC Coordinator (Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative). Kimball will discuss the rising Hepatitis C and HIV infection rates related to the opioid epidemic, and the case for strategies to reduce preventable disease and death among those with heroin addiction.
  • Dr. Jennifer Michaels, MD, Medical Director, Brien Center. Michaels will offer an addiction treatment provider perspective.
  • Liz Whynott, Director of HIV Health and Prevention, Tapestry Health. Whynott will speak on the range of comprehensive drug user services including the proposed syringe access program for Pittsfield.

A Q&A will follow the presentations. The Board of Health will vote on the program at its March 1 meeting.

For more information, please call Gina Armstrong at 499-9411.