PeopleCare…

Basic RGBDr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire stated that he started PeopleCare, a non-profit organization, about four years ago, largely in response to the epidemic of opioid addiction in our communities.  We were already treating addiction as it developed, but had no tool to attempt prevention.  The PeopleCare mission is to connect with youth before rampant experimentation with illicit drugs, for the purpose of giving them facts in a manner they will be able to digest.

According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, one in eight young adults in the State reported abusing pain relievers during the past year.  PeopleCare’s premise is that if sufficiently armed with knowledge, most kids will not get into trouble.  They may still experiment, but will avoid the ravages of addiction.  PeopleCare believes in free unfettered exchanges between vulnerable adolescents at risk and young recovering addicts.  Unlike DARE and other well intentioned drug programs, PeopleCare strives to not impede education by inserting adults into the process.  Rather than kids following the advice of adults, as we all know, many choose to do the exact opposite of that advice.  In contrast, when kids hear the often gripping and always tragic stories from our addicts, who are often within a year or two of the same age, they tend to buy and not reject the message.

People become addicted to prescription drugs every day and some die from overdose.  It is a serious problem that cannot be solved by the failed approaches of the past.  We deliver the truth.  It is up to our audience members to use this information as they see fit.  PeopleCare divides its activities into the following categories:  Live Educational Presentations, Public Service Announcements, Televised Programming, and Professional Forums.

PeopleCare provides free educational presentations using the latest scientific and statistical information available.  Our presentations are led by certified treatment experts and feature recovering addicts who relate their stories of addiction to the audience.  PeopleCare strives to not dictate, but to inform, and allow the kids to think for themselves, armed with information.  Early middle schoolers are targeted.  After a very brief overview by a moderator, the addicts then run the discussion sessions which are wide open in a Q&A format.  Kids get to sound off, vent, and generally offload in a confidential setting, almost entirely free of adult presence.  Feedback from teachers and audience has been extremely positive, with most schools requesting regular follow up visits from PeopleCare.

Beginning in 2015, PeopleCare will conduct the First Annual PSA Video Contest for New Hampshire high school students.  This initiative gives students an opportunity to display their video production skills and their creative messages on the topic of prescription drug abuse.  Winning videos will appear on local cable television, prizes will be awarded to teams of up to four students, and they will be posted to our website http://nhpeoplecare.org/michael-j-oconnell-md-ceo/.

PeopleCare also sponsors an innovative public access program on MetroCast Cable called Addiction Today.  The program uses a one-on-one interviewPeopleCare vicodin-pill-150x150 style format that explores addiction-related issues from a variety of perspectives.  Past guests have included addiction professionals, recovering addicts, law enforcement officials, parents of recovering addicts, state officials, and others.

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell notes that fighting to win the battle against prescription drug abuse depends upon the coordinated activity of a broad array of community groups.  PeopleCare brings together experts from law enforcement, healthcare, education, government, and other sectors to help facilitate coordinated action in order to bring about a strategic response to the prescription drug abuse crisis.

About Dr. Michael J. O'Connell, New Hampshire
Dr. Michael J. O'Connell of Barrington, New Hampshire, has forged a distinguished career spanning over three decades, as entrepreneur, physician, businessman, philanthropist and healthcare consultant. As former owner, administrator and CEO of a 225+ employee multi-specialty medical practice, Dr. O'Connell has dedicated his entire professional life to helping patients with family medicine and especially those experiencing chronic pain and all aspects of addiction. Since selling his family of healthcare businesses, he has never once contemplated retirement despite his rich and fulfilling journey, but instead has turned his focus to consulting in an industry starved for courage and creativity. Having weathered many political, technological and legal challenges, there is hardly a storm he has not confronted, a tempest he has not quelled, an urgent need he has not met. While the talking heads and self-proclaimed experts in the field have assumed the conventions and standards of the times, Dr. O'Connell does not believe in merely reflecting the herd mentality, but rather in leading the charge. Eschewing political correctness, Dr. O'Connell says and does what needs saying and doing, and not what the mindless masses expect. In addition to the continual education afforded by his variegated life experiences, Dr O'Connell earned his BS in Biochemistry at the University of NH in 1975, his Medical Degree from Dartmouth College in 1981, interned at Walter Reed Medical Center in 1982, Residency/Fellowship at UCSF in1986, and finished his Masters in Healthcare Administration at UNH in 1995. Dr. O’Connell enjoys many outdoor activities, including rock climbing, snowboarding, hiking, and golf. Through the decades Dr. O'Connell has supported many non-profit charities to include the St. Charles Home in Rochester NH, the Tri City VNA and Hospice, Hyder House, and Cocheco Valley Humane Society. To the latter organization alone Dr. O'Connell has donated over $180,000 and pledged another $250,000 in the “Bring-Us-Home” campaign for a new building. His “Matching Donations Christmas drive” has generated over $175,000 in charitable giving from the community. In addition Dr. O'Connell has participated in many dozens of other volunteer and donation efforts locally as well as in Africa and the Dominican Republic. For a listing of how I gave back to the community during my career and continue to do see: https://michaeloconnellmdnh.wordpress.com/

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