Mayor Walsh honored by Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today was honored at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America's (CADCA) 30th Annual National Leadership Forum with their National Leadership Award. The award recognizes leaders who have been longtime supporters of the community coalition movement and use their voice and influence to educate the community about the importance of substance use disorder prevention. This award recognizes Mayor Walsh's decades of leadership working on prevention and expanding treatment and resources for people struggling with substance use disorder.
"This is an incredible honor for me, because this issue is so close to my heart and I have tremendous respect for people who devote their lives to prevention," said Mayor Walsh. "This award is especially meaningful to me because substance use disorder is something I've experienced. Prevention professionals and community advocates are sharing knowledge and opportunities with young people so they can make healthy choices and follow their dreams. CADCA has been a valuable partner and resource for our work on this issue in Boston."
"CADCA is proud to award our 2020 National Leadership Award to Mayor Walsh, in honor of his exceptional work making Boston a safer and healthier city through his commitment to prevention and recovery initiatives," said CADCA Chairman & CEO General Arthur T. Dean. "The National Leadership Award is the highest honor CADCA bestows throughout the year, recognizing leaders who use their voice and influence to educate their community about the importance of preventing substance misuse. Mayor Walsh has gone above and beyond the call of duty to receive this award."
Having been in recovery from alcoholism for almost 25 years, Mayor Walsh understands the challenges faced by individuals suffering with a substance use disorder, and the impact it has on their families and loved ones. Throughout his 16 years as a State Representative, and six years as Mayor, Mayor Walsh has worked to secure the funding, the facilities, and the support for high quality, affordable treatment programs that respond to the needs of different communities in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Early in his first term, Mayor Walsh created the nation's first municipal Office of Recovery Services, equipping every public safety vehicle with medication to reverse opioid overdoses, training city employees and residents in the community on overdose prevention, working with the City's public safety agencies on treatment access and diversion, hiring street outreach workers to connect people with services, expanding the City's access-to-care program, and creating a 24-hour recovery services hotline using the City's 311 system.
The Mayor's Office of Recovery Services has also collaborated with a variety of partners to build a comprehensive continuum of care in the City of Boston, including prevention and education, outreach and engagement, harm reduction services, access-to-care services, and the supportive services people living with substance use disorder need to rebuild their lives like housing, education, job training, and community support.
In 2018, in partnership with local youth, Mayor Walsh released a Youth Substance Use Prevention Strategic Plan focusing on mental health, education, and life skills. The plan puts an emphasis on equity, recognizing the unique needs of different communities, and the additional challenges facing youth from low-income neighborhoods, those who have experienced trauma, and those who have a history of substance use disorder in their families.
In 2018, Mayor Walsh announced plans to build a comprehensive recovery campus on Long Island which will serve the New England region and fill the gaps in the state's continuum of care by expanding access to care, adding hundreds of new treatment beds, and providing supportive services such as job training to help people sustain their recovery.
Mayor Walsh serves as Co-chair of the US Conference of Mayors' Substance Use, Prevention, and Recovery Taskforce, which brings together mayors from cities and towns across the country to discuss best practices for addressing the opioid epidemic.
The mission of CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) is to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions to create and maintain safe, healthy and drug-free communities globally. This is accomplished by providing technical assistance and training, public policy advocacy, media strategies and marketing programs, training and special events.