Cathie O’Donnell, a legal assistant for the Family Law department of Gawthrop Greenwood, PC, has been named to the Chester County Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board.
Members of the Board advise the Director of the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services on the planning, coordination and administration of drug and alcohol prevention, intervention and treatment services to county residents.
O’Donnell is a passionate advocate, fundraiser and volunteer for opioid abuse prevention. A presenter for NOPE Task Force (Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education), she frequently shares the story of her son Shane O’Donnell in public educational forums. 22-year-old Shane died of a drug overdose in 2013 that developed from an addiction to painkillers prescribed for a back injury.
In April 2018, O’Donnell was named to The Mayor’s Opioid Action Task Force as an advisory board member. She has also been honored for her work with state senators to ensure local police cruisers are equipped with Narcan, which can counteract the effects of opioid overdoses.
O’Donnell advises parents, “Talk to your children about drugs and alcohol, but also be aware of what is going on when your child is treated for a sports injury or wisdom teeth. Is a prescription pain killer needed? What are the side effects, and is there a chance of addiction? Is a 30-day supply necessary?”
More than 130 people die every day from opioid-related drug overdoses, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which declared a public health emergency in 2017 for the nation’s Opioid Crisis. In 2016-2017, two million people misused prescription opioids for the first time.
You can read more about Cathie and Shane’s story in the Daily Local News.