RUMFORD — Maine Student Action, a group of Mountain Valley High School students, will host a community conversation Friday evening about the opioid crisis.

Maine Student Action students at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford are hosting a community conversation on the opioid crisis Friday evening at the school. Members, from left, kneeling, are Madi Irish and Novak Collins; standing, Carly Baker, Mikayla Burse, Cecelia Gamache, Nevaeh D’Angelo and Taz Tracy. Submitted photo

It will be held from 5:20 to 7:30 p.m. in the school’s Muskie Auditorium.

Student Cecelia Gamache said, “By talking about an issue that affects an entire population of people so heavily, Maine Student Action members believe that by both using personal experiences from community members and by using the power of story, we can accomplish change.”

Student Carly Baker said the event will start with a screening of “Lead With Love,” a documentary about the experiences of three Maine women impacted by substance abuse.

The students will facilitate a conversation with panelists about how to communicate a compassionate drug policy.

The panelists are Courtney Allen, Maine Recovery Advocacy Project organizing director; Tommy Hayes, recovery coach and Narcan coordinator with the Larry Labonte Recovery Center in Rumford; Glenn Gordon, registered recovery coach with Oxford County Mental Health Services; and Crystal Buotte, a substance use survivor.


There will be snacks after the conversation and an opportunity to talk to the panelists.

Maine Student Action members hosting the panel include Gamache, Baker, Nevaeh D’Angelo, Taz Tracy, Mikayla Burse and Rose Chaloult.

Gamache said there are many others who have worked behind the scenes, including Madi Irish and Novak Collins.

She said students started Maine Student Action with the intention of creating a space for students to be able to discuss and take action on the social and political issues they feel most passionate about. “One of the specific problems that we decided to take action on is the opioid crisis in our community,” she said.

“We have decided to hold a panel to not only offer help to the people in need but also break the stigma around people in the community that might struggle with substance abuse, Gamache said. “There will be a diversity of resources for anyone that needs it with a policy person to discuss how we can take action.”

Gamache added that Maine Student Action’s main goal is “to improve the quality of the people’s lives in our community, in turn making our community better. The feedback that we receive from our event going forward will be extremely important to help us gauge what we need to think about in the future.”

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