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The Impact on Natick & What We Are Doing

The Natick community has a long history of working collaboratively to address substance use. Since the 1980s, Natick has supported a series of community committees and coalitions made up of dedicated parents, school representatives, law enforcement, public health professionals, town leaders, and engaged community members working to prevent and reduce youth substance use in the community. Their collective efforts led to the Natick Together for Youth (NTY) Coalition obtaining the federal Drug-Free Communities (DFC) grant in 2011, a five-year grant that assists communities in building the readiness and infrastructure to tackle the most pressing substance use issues faced by youth. As the nationwide opioid crisis grew and the need for a more targeted response became more evident, NTY representatives worked closely with Natick town leaders to organize a task force focused specifically on the opioid epidemic. In September 2016, The Natick Board of Selectmen convened the Natick Opioid Task Force (OTF) to bring together municipal departments and local organizations to build a sustainable, coordinated, multidisciplinary system of support, education and treatment for those affected by this public health crisis. The collective efforts of NTY, the OTF and their partners included:

Below are the things Natick 180 is doing right now:

Awareness & Education

Making Naloxone (Narcan) available on every Natick Police and Fire Department vehicle and in every Natick Public School. The Natick Health Department also offers Naloxone training and distribution to any resident at no cost.

  • Community education events for parents and other adults about adolescent brain development, underage drinking, marijuana, opioids, vaping, and stimulants.
  • Annual Interfaith Community Vigil for Those Who Lost Their Lives to Substance Use, which began in 2014.
  • Unused medication disposal kiosk in the Natick Police Department lobby.
  • Expansion of Natick Public Schools grades 5-12 curriculum to include new units on opioids, vaping and other drug use, as well as the addition of the Life Skills curriculum in middle schools.
  • Youth leadership group Natick Above The Influence “NATI” (formerly known as Natick Against Student Substance Abuse) that is now the Natick chapter of the 84 Movement (a statewide movement of youth fighting tobacco).
  • Annual Sticker Shock campaign in local alcohol retail establishments to remind adults over 21 to not purchase alcohol for underage youth.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight bedroom display at the Natick Mall to educate adults about possible signs of teen and young adult substance use.

Access to Treatment and Recovery Support Services

  • Post overdose outreach program to offer harm reduction, treatment navigation and other support services to overdose victims and their families.
  • Embedded mental health clinician within the Natick Police Department to provide immediate assessments and service referrals for community members who experience challenges related to mental health and/or substance use.
  • Naloxone (Narcan) distribution and opioid overdose prevention training program through the Natick Health Department, available for free to people who live or work in Natick (including group trainings to businesses and organizations).
  • Implementation of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) protocols and depression screenings in the middle and high schools to screen students for substance use and depression and provide referrals.
  • Vaping diversion pilot program at Natick High School for students who are caught using or in possession of vaping devices.
  • Printed resource cards and informational booklets highlighting treatment services and family supports.
  • Support groups and workshops for Natick families impacted by substance use, including:
    • The Journey Bereavement Group that began in 2017 and meets monthly. 
    • Learn a Better Way workshop series that uses the CRAFT model to provide coaching and communication skill building to parents/guardians of teens and young adults who use substances.

Infrastructure and Sustainability 


  • Grants, state funds and private donations totalling more than $700,000 to prevent and reduce substance use disorders in Natick.
  • Designation of the Natick Health Department as fiscal agent to Natick’s substance use prevention program, providing staffing and administrative and fiscal oversight to town wide efforts.
  • Expansion of staff to three positions to implement town wide substance use prevention strategic plan.