Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III has begun distributing a new children’s book written by a local author that aims to open up the lines of communication with children who are living in a home with a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol.
The book, entitled, “A Sickness You Can’t See,” was authored by Bristol County’s own Laura Washington, who has worked in the addiction field for many years and has been a longtime community partner of the district attorney’s office. The book was written to help educators, police, physicians and others that come into contact with children who are unfortunately living with someone addicted to drugs. Often times the children are forgotten about when it comes to addiction and many people do not know how to even broach the subject of a loved one’s substance abuse addiction with a child. Ms. Washington wrote the book based off true stories and true events that her family members went through loving someone with an addiction.
Unfortunately, given the ongoing opiate epidemic impacting our country, more and more children are having to deal with family members in the throes of addiction more than they ever have before. Children are truly the innocent victims of the opiate crisis and this book is just one way our office hopes to help stem the tide. Our office chose to get behind this book because of the glaring lack of resources available to children living with a loved one battling addiction. The book helps adults broach the subject in a way that children can understand and relate to, and since the book is based on true stories, it will help children not feel isolated or alone.
In Norton, Henri Yelle Elementary School Pricipal Martin Geoghegan, April Funches, Laura Washington and School Adjustment Counselor, Kim Fulton, pose with the new children’s book at the school. On the day it was distributed earlier this month.
As soon as the book was published, several of our community partners began asking about the best way to make sure this book gets into the hands of school resource officers, school adjustment counselors and guidance counselors. The book was also discussed by numerous members of our Bristol County Underage Substance Use Task Force during a recent meeting. At that point, District Attorney Quinn decided to use a small portion of the office’s drug forfeiture funds to purchase 200 copies of the book with the goal of getting it into every school district in Bristol County.
Kathy Perry, Director of Student Services and Transportation for Taunton Public School Department, April Funches of DA Quinn’s Community Affairs Unit and DA Quinn meet at the Elizabeth Pole School in Taunton to distribute and discuss the new books.
During recent weeks, District Attorney Quinn, with the assistance of Community Affairs Unit Program Manager, April Funches, and the author herself, have begun to embark upon an effort to reach out to school superintendents and principals to get the book into their schools. Thanks to this ongoing effort, the book is already being utilized by the Henri Yelle Elementary School in Norton, the Quinn School in Dartmouth and the Elizabeth Pole School in Taunton. The book will soon be brought into more of Taunton’s elementary schools and plans are in place to continue to distribute the book to schools in all 20 cities and towns in Bristol County during the coming weeks and months. The goal is to make sure every school district in the county has several copies. Our office will deliver or mail them to any elementary school that wants them and is willing to share it with students in need.
DA Quinn sits with second grade students and Guidance Counselors, Jennifer Taylor and Brooke Daniels, at the Elizabeth Pole School in Taunton.
“I am very pleased to be able to provide these books to schools throughout Bristol County. I want to thank Laura Washington for her work on this book and the school leaders who are already utilizing this book to help children through a very difficult situation. Unfortunately, we are living through an era marked by an increase in drug addiction. The impact of living with an adult family member who is struggling through addiction cannot be understated. That is why my office chose to get involved in the distribution of this book, which was specifically created for young children,” District Attorney Quinn said. “It is very important for us to support children who are living in a home with someone who is battling addiction. My office has spearheaded a number of initiatives over the past several years aimed at combating the ongoing opiate epidemic plaguing our communities and families. By distributing this important piece of children’s literature to the schools, we are making yet another effort to stem the tide of addiction and reduce the impact it can have on young children. I am hopeful that more and more schools will support this initiative and utilize this book during 2020.”