Katherine Cook

Katherine M. Cook

Vice President, Adult Services at Center for Human Development

Location:
332 BIRNIE AVE, Springfield, Massachusetts, United States
HQ Phone:
(413) 733-6624

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Katherine Cook, Vice President, Adult Services

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Katherine Cook, vice president of Adult Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the Center for Human Development (CHD), agreed, but added that, to achieve progress and a better-case scenario moving forward, cultural changes must take place on many levels, starting with prescription practices and the basic approach to treating illnesses.
"We're a culture where, for the common cold, for which there is no cure, you can walk into in any drugstore, and there are aisles of remedies," she said. But it is a huge hurdle, said Cook. "We have come a long way, but there's still judgment and a devaluing of people, and that's not just in the U.S.," she noted. "With substance use, it becomes a moral judgment that people impose on others; we need to show that this isn't an 'us and them' situation - we're all human." Like all those we spoke with, Cook said there are a number of factors that will ultimately determine just which trajectory the graphs charting opioid-related deaths will take in the years to come. These include prevention and treatment efforts, obviously, but also issues such as access to healthcare, employment opportunities, and safe, affordable housing. "It's not just mental health and substance abuse," she told HCN. "It's all of the social indicators of health, and if we don't look at that, we're not going to be able to make a difference. "And it's not just treatment beds," she went on, adding, again that more of those certainly are needed. Cook agreed. "We need to remove from our bodies what we can by way of detox," she said. Summing up matters succinctly and poignantly, Cook said that, to stem the tide of opioid use and abuse, "we have to keep working hard every day." And keep working on a number of fronts all at once, she went on, speaking for all those we interviewed, because there are many layers to this crisis.

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Katherine Cook, Vice President, Adult Services

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