Potee to present seminar on ‘The Physiology of Addiction’ in Westborough


The Square One Coalition will host family and addiction medicine physician Dr. Ruth Potee, a leading expert in brain development and teen risk taking, for a free community presentation.

Dr. Ruth Potee
Dr. Ruth Potee

Westborough – The Square One Coalition invites residents of Westborough and surrounding communities to hear Dr. Ruth Potee give a free community presentation on Thursday, April 25 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Westborough High School auditorium. Dr. Potee will present an overview of adolescent brain development, how substances and addictive behaviors impact the brain, and how the brain is injured by prolonged exposure to these substances and behaviors. The evening will also include a resource fair featuring local education and treatment resources, and Hidden in Plain Sight -an exhibit that demonstrates how easy it is for teens to hide substance use materials in the home.

Understanding brain development is a critical component in educating adults and teens about the impact of substance use on the brain. Dr. Potee presents well-researched and insightful information on many topics related to substance use, including the increasing trend in Juuling and vaping among teens. According to a recent Monitoring the Future survey, 37.3% of high school seniors reported vaping in 2018 (www.monitoringthefuture.org). Education and community engagement are important pieces to addressing this and other aspects of harmful substance use.

This speaker program is the second event organized through a partnership between Rotary Club of Westborough, Westborough Youth & Family Services, Westborough Public Schools and Westborough Connects, called Square One. The initial goals of the Square One Coalition are to:

  • Initiate a community conversation on substance use prevention, substance use disorder and addiction.
  • Reduce / eliminate the stigma around the disease of addiction.
  • Identify community education/support needs.
  • Identify next steps as a community.
  • Engage the broader community in next steps.

The first step in this collaboration was a community conversation about substance use awareness and prevention held on March 28, 2019 at Mill Pond School. Over 70 Westborough residents and town employees attended the event to learn about and discuss the brain chemistry of addiction, increased risk to youth as a result of the developing brain, the new trend of trend with Juuling/vaping, and external forces that fuel addiction. The conversations were engaging and set the stage for planning future programs and initiatives to address substance use awareness and prevention needs of the community.

About Dr. Ruth Potee

Dr. Ruth Potee is a board certified Family Physician and Addiction Medicine physician at Valley Medical Group in Greenfield, MA.  She is a native of western Massachusetts and attended public schools in the North Quabbin region.  She attended Wellesley College, Yale University School of Medicine and did her residency at Boston University where she remained as an assistant professor of Family Medicine for eight years.   In addition to practicing full- scope family medicine, she is currently the Medical Director for the Franklin County House of Corrections, the Franklin Recovery and Treatment Center and the Pioneer Valley Regional School District as well as the Chair of the Healthcare Solutions of the Opioid Task Force of Franklin County.  She was named Franklin County Doctor of the Year by the Massachusetts Medical Society in 2015.   Dr. Potee engages communities in discussions surrounding substance abuse through her wide ranging series of talks.

This program is FREE and open to all, with a recommended age of 14 years or older. It will be held on Thursday, April 25th from 6:30-8:30pm at Westborough High School, located at 90 West Main Street in Westborough. Doors open at 6. The presentation will from 6:30-8pm, followed by a Q&A session from 8-8:30pm with Dr. Potee. Free on-site professional childcare is available with pre-registration. For more information and to register, please visit: www.westboroughconnects.org/programs.