Minutes- February 1, 2019

I. Welcome & Introductions

II. District Attorney Cruz

  • The DA informed the group that legislatures were recently here to discuss public safety issues including marijuana legalization and its implications.
  • The DA reviewed the Governor’s recent recommendations on marijuana including:
    • If a driver is suspected to be under the influence of marijuana and refuses to give a blood test, the driver would lose their license.
    • Training new officers to become Drug Recognition Experts.
    • The DA reiterated that judges should be trained in this as well.
  • The DA noted that the best test for deciphering whether someone is under the influence is the horizontal gaze nystagmus. Police, however, are not allowed to use it in Massachusetts.
  • He said there are also challenges with the breath tests because many are tossed out.
  • In MA, you can drive with an open bag of weed. In the past if police smelled weed that constituted probable cause, however now you need more because it’s been legalized.
  • It is clear that the criminal justice system is ill suited to deal with these implications.

III. Sheriff McDonald

  • Upcoming Job Fair – Co-Hosted with the DA and Mayor
  • This is our third Job Fair outside of the facility.  It is organized by our Re- Entry staff and we continue to get great feedback from both the employers and Job Fair participants
  • M.A.T. in the jail:
    • All 14 Sheriffs are working collaboratively on a data driven “Best Practice” approach to MAT in jail.  There are 6 Sheriff’s participating in a pilot program with induction in jail (Middlesex, Franklin, Norfolk, Hampden, Essex and Hampshire) Program to start September 2019
  • Participants:
      • First: qualifying participants are inmates with a MAT prescription, that has been verified by a physician, who choose to continue with treatment
      • Second: medication assisted treatment options will be made available for sentenced inmates for whom such treatment is determined to be medically appropriate by a qualified addiction specialist 30 days prior to release. In addition, participants in the pilot program will return to their communities with a coordinated post-release health plan to ensure continuity of care for each individual.
  • What the Sheriff’s Department is doing in Plymouth: Focus on Detox and stabilize

  • TRIAL Population – Are the most vulnerable due to their possible short length of stay.
    • We have partnered with Brockton Neighborhood Health on a grant issued by RIZE (RIZE. https://rizema.org/)
    • RIZE Massachusetts is an independent nonprofit foundation with a mission to convene, support, and partner with other key players to facilitate a coordinated approach to the opioid crisis.
    • The RIZE grant has embedded a Reentry Coordinator in our facility who works with our staff to identify the men entering our facility suffering with Substance Use Disorder and ultimately returning to the greater Brockton area.  She works with the men to determine level of care needed and books their appointment at BNHC with primary care, counseling and/or MAT services upon their release. There is a continuum of care through the Recovery Centers and support service agencies that are partnering in this grant.
    • RIZE: 11/26/18 to 1/7/19 – 31 inmates met with the RIZE Reentry Coordinator, 21 men were referred to all BNHC services (17 were referred for MAT).  So far4 men of the 5 referrals back in the community have retained their appointments.
    • We are conducting classes for Trial inmates on overdose prevention, the use of Narcan, AA meetings, and outside groups will address the men on options upon release.
    • We are addressing men returning to the southern part of the County with other providers (such as Clean Slate)

  • Sentenced inmates –
    • Aside from a Caseworker and Re-Entry Advocate we conduct classes in the units on overdose prevention, substance use disorder, problem gambling, anger management, violence prevention, HIV and Hep C awareness.  We have Veteran focused groups and counseling and a 4-month intensive program in our Substance Use Disorder Unit. AA, Bible Study, Deacon Greer, Teen Challenge, The Peace Institute, Clean Slate and others come in to work with the men.
    • We are working with Gandara through a SAMSA grant for Peer to Peer Recovery Coaching for sentenced inmates.  The program assists our Re- Entry Advocates with post incarceration housing, transportation, employment and medical care. The grant covers care coordination throughout the County.  Peer Recovery Coaches are a link back to the community and are available on the day of release to transport a man to treatment, program, probation or home.
    • The Gandara program has just started and we will have better data in a month or so.  We know 96 sentenced inmates have been identified and are currently working with the Case Workers.
  • PCCF: Between 12/4 – 1/4 there were 385 men booked into the facility. 56 identified with heroin, fentanyl, suboxone, methadone and oxycodone use. 
  • 15 remained in custody.  Of the 15 inmates 10 would have agreed to MAT with 5 stating they would not like MAT with their reason being that they want to be drug free
  •  Our Re-Entry Advocates have completed the Recovery Coach training

IV. Legislative Reports – Senator Vinny deMacedo

  • Senator deMacedo reviewed several of the Governor’s recommendations on drugged driving.
  • Authorize courts to take judicial notice
  • Suspend driver’s license if the driver refuses to provide a blood test
  • Train over 300 Drug Recognition Experts (DREs)
  • In the past year, a dedicated revenue stream has been put in place for police chiefs to invest in training.
  • THC impairs motorists
  • Educational materials on drug impairment for trial court judges
  • Prohibit drivers to have unsealed marijuana
  • Allow DREs to testify as expert witnesses in court    
  • Recognize the effectiveness of the horizontal gaze nystagmus
  • Senator deMacedo is working with the Police Chiefs on legislation to allow officers to disseminate Narcan at a follow-up visit following an overdose as opposed to referring the individual or family to a drop-in center

V. Presentations:

A. Richard Curcuru – President & Chief Executive Officer Gosnold, Inc.

Richard provided an overview of services that Gosnold offers. His goal is to move services off the Cape as much as possible.

  • Gosnold has a new expansion of school-based services.
  • They are in 57 schools and expect to be in 70 by next fiscal year.
  • They have reached approximately 900 students, 400 in the summer
  • Elementary, middle and high school clinical services addressing prevention and truancy
  • Gosnold will be focusing on ER navigation with staff in long term recovery to address overdose follow-ups
  • Newest behavioral health services in detox and rehab
  • Co-occurring disorders – dual diagnosis facility

Richard reported that he sits on Governor Baker’s Taskforce working with Maura Healy to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable.

B. Jack Foster and Margaret Hester – HIDTA

Jack provided an overview of HIDTA which is a federal program funded by the ONDCP with a mission to disrupt drug trafficking.

Margaret, a Public Health Analyst for HIDTA’s Opioid Response Strategy (ORS), shared an overview of her role and the work that is taking place in the community as well as current trends.

The goal of ORS is to bring law enforcement and public health together to better address the opioid epidemic. The mission is to reduce fatal and non-fatal opioid overdose rates by improved information sharing across agencies and supporting evidence-based interventions.

They are currently working with PCO on a pilot project to understand how outreach is influencing individuals’ access to care.

VI. Subcommittee Reports

A. Public Safety Subcommittee – Chief Botieri and Chief Allen

  • Between the North and South meetings there have been 80-90 attendees.
  • For 2 and a half years, PCO’s program has been sustained on nearly no funding aside from support from the DA’s Office and HIDTA for the database system.
  • PCO will now be meeting every other month in the north and south and a larger meeting on a quarterly basis.
  • PCO recently met with the Mayor of Brockton which continues to be a big piece of the county model
  • The new grant that PCO received will be supporting employees and recovery coaches.
    • Vicky Butler has been hired as the Operations Supervisor and there will also be a Project Coordinator hired in addition to the existing recovery coaches and PAARI AmeriCorps Coordinator.
    • The grant will support technology for each department including laptops and iPads for field use.
    • A revolving fund in Plymouth will support day-to-day operations.
      • Monthly dues from each department will be around $350-$500.
  • Thank you to HIDTA and CDC for their support.
  • PCO has an interagency agreement with High Point to track points of contact with PCO and linkages to care.
  • One of PCO’s goals is to bring mental health under PCO’s umbrella
  • Kelly Research Associate’s 2018 Annual Report for PCO will be coming out soon.
  • Overdoses are down by 13% and at-risk referrals are up 110%

PCO will be holding roll-call trainings with police departments for officers that are not familiar with PCO outreach efforts. The first training was held in Norwell and they will be looking into to creating a training video for future trainings. 

B. Medical – Dan Muse & Sarah Cloud

  • Dr. Muse joined the taskforce on a conference call to share information about a recent concern around pulmonary edemas.
  • Everything has been anecdotally shared thus far, however there are theories that an individual wakes up from an overdose, their throat is closed and this triggers the response. The surge in the body could partly come from Narcan.
  • Dr. Muse said there is no way of proving it. It happens more to do with 20, 30, 40 mg of Narcan to reverse Fentanyl. It is the reflex response to hypoxia.
  • What could help is to give medication slower and focus better on breathing. If you breath for them, they will live.
  • Scott mentioned PCO will be putting out a 5 to 10-minute video on cable to showcase how to give Narcan and the importance of oxygen. They will include a blurb on pulmonary edema.
  • Sarah Cloud informed the group about an upcoming Scope of Pain training. Registration is now open, please share: scopeofpain.org
    • May 2, 2019 | 7:30am-3pm | Doubletree Rockland
  • Sarah also reported on a county-wide effort to roll-out MAT in medical emergency rooms. The taskforce will be looking to create a how to guide for hospitals on how to do this.

C. Education – Mary Waldron

  • Save the date for the 3rd annual Plymouth County Drug Abuse Taskforce Conference “The Power of Partnerships” on April 22nd at BSU
  • Resource tables will be invited for the start of the program and available all day.
  • Please feel free to provide suggestions on topics to cover at the conference.
  • The BSU Opioid Working Group will take place on February 27th with an education subcommittee meeting before at 9:30am.
  • Mary applauded Brockton for training city employees on overdose prevention recently.
  • Koren shared that Blue Cross Blue Shield sponsored Naloxone to be put in city buildings as a pilot in Brockton. Staff of the Brockton Mayor’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Coalition conducted the training and Naloxone was placed in buildings of city employees trained.
  • Mary also highlighted the need for education to funeral home directors including training and sample obituaries.
D. Community Coalitions – Gabby Peruccio, Joanne Peterson
  • Gabby shared several upcoming trades trainings that are being hosted by Prevention Services of High Point, the Brockton Area Prevention Collaborative and the Plymouth Area Substance Abuse Prevention Collaborative:
  • February 27th at 6PM at Carver Public Library – https://trades-training-carver.eventbrite.com
  • March 5th at 11AM at Barrett’s, Bridgewater -https://trades-training-bridgewater.eventbrite.com
  • March 19th at 6PM at East Bridgewater Town Hall – https://trades-training-east-bridgewater.eventbrite.com
  • Prevention Services will also be hosting its 2nd Annual Youth Conference on May 23, 2019 at Stonehill College. This will bring together students from high schools in Prevention Services’ catchment area as well as the vocational and alternative schools.

Joanne shared several initiatives taking place through Learn to Cope including:

  • A partnership with the Department of Children and Families
  • Children grieving lost parents, services for children, grandparents raising grandchildren
  • Grandparents Corner
  • Partnership with Franklin Cook through DPH on grief support
  • Disney on Ice – 61 families are currently signed up to go the week of February vacation
  • Purdue Pharma – Learn to Cope is an interested part; the judge released the full report
  • Learn to Cope Conference June 22nd at WPI in Worcester
  • In October, Learn to Cope will host a 15th anniversary commencement

E. Faith-Based Coalitions – Rev. Jehle & Deacon Greer

  • The Archdiocese offers trainings for grief and loss. With addictions there are more layers in comparison to a normal death.

  • Shared that spirituality is often missing from the conversation.
  • February 11th is World Day of Sick – there will be a mass held on addictions and there are rosaries for addictions taking place in Abington and Halifax
  • Rev. Jehle noted that they continue to work on bringing clergy together. They previously hosted a health symposium in south Plymouth where Ed Jacoubs discussed ACES and a nutritionist was present. They are working on putting together another symposium.

VII. Upcoming Events

CORI Friendly Career Fair

Open to all employment seeking Plymouth County residents including justice involved individuals.

April 10th 12PM-3PM, Brockton War Memorial Building 156 West Elm Street, Brockton

Starting February 6th and continuing on every 1st Wednesday of the month – Live Graffiti Art sponsored by 24 Hr. Power, Inc. in partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings at Westgate Brockton from 6PM-8:30PM

Saturday, February 16th 7-10PM | Life Quest Community Church | Free Sober Fun with 24 Hr. Power, Inc. Recovery Graffiti Love Fest

VIII. Adjournment