When I first read last week’s poll question in the Andover Townsman I was surprised. My first thought was, why would the newspaper want to question the important work that Andover Cares is doing? Clearly the dedicated volunteers of Andover Cares have shown that confronting the addiction problem head on with a positive message of wellness and support through education and direct community involvement has yielded a dramatic drop in deaths and overdoses. The statistics are obvious. Why would anyone feel that this important work might be a negative message at a community event?
I quickly concluded that this was an opportunity. Yet another opportunity to show the community, the newspaper and its readers the important work that Andover Cares is doing throughout our region and our town. Andover Cares is a group created by the Rotary Club of Andover to help address the problem of substance abuse in our community. We support a vigorous program of wellness, as well as education, prevention, treatment and awareness about substance abuse and addiction. Andover Cares supports resources within our community to promote wellness and help families navigate through the reality of destructive substances. Andover Cares raises and grants money to organizations like the Ironstone Farm veterans program, Andover High School, elementary schools and middle schools, Andonna, Psychological Center, MVPASAP Leadership Summit, Parent to Parent, Wellness Wednesdays, Project Challenge, teacher education and many more worthy community programs.
Yes, the problem is complex and cannot be addressed by any one solution. The best approaches come from collaboration between all of those on the front lines — educators, law enforcement professionals, addiction specialists, parents, concerned citizens, and healthcare professionals. Andover Cares' sole mission is to support any and all of these programs so that we might have a healthier and more educated community. The Andover Cares participation at Andover Days is solely designed to continue to bring our positive message of wellness, support and the value of good life choices to thousands of our citizens. Helping people is always positive.
PAUL J. SALAFIA
Andover Cares co-chair