Minutes- February 2016

I.  Welcome- District Attorney Tim Cruz & Sheriff Joe McDonald
II.  Subcommittee Reports

A.  Public Safety- Chief Botieri

  •  Highlighted best-practice in Plymouth: Project Outreach
    • Focusing on the treatment and prevention piece
    • First met with stakeholders: identified 12-24 hrs after overdose being most crucial
  • Created an on-call list for each day which started in December
  • 1 month sign-up was set up for outreach
  • Street crimes officers (7) visit homes to meet with individuals who recently overdosed to try and provide a bed for treatment – only Plymouth residents
    • Note: not every overdose gets a follow-up visit; warrants are run before going to offer help at a home – if there is one, they do not go
  • No one turns them away – most likely because of the stigma; this stops many people from getting help
  • They have been lucky with getting beds: 6-7 times already
  • There has been zero funds needed for the program so far
  • Learning outcomes:
    • If you bring the resources to them, it reduces the stigma
    • If they say they don’t want you to visit their home, it is often a cry for help – these individuals have taken beds when visited at their homes
  • Goal: To get the county on the same page with this initiative within one year
    • Plymouth is moving into Middleboro and Carver – all three communities are collecting the same data; our goal is for the county to collect all of the same data
    • June/July offer to other towns *go slow
  • Challenge: How can we support smaller PD’s in June/July to take on the same initiative?
    • Provide minimal training
    • Sheriff suggested support through the Academy
  • Chief suggested this should be the group where we bring best-practices to the table

B.  The Education Subcommittee

  • is hoping to bring local college presidents and K-12 superintendents to the table (they have been added to the flow chart)
  • President Clark will be gathering higher ed institutions together in March
  • The education subcommittee would like to assess the faith-based curriculum to see how they can integrate it if possible

C.  Legislative Subcommittee

  •  Monica Mullen, District Director for Senator Vinny deMacedo
    • Legalizing Marijuana – Senator deMacedo’s Fact Finding Mission – Colorado
      • 7-9 senators went – eye opening experience
      • Ongoing problem, unintended consequences
      • Marijuana sold in 500 plus retail shops – low income areas/tourism targeted
      • Huge black market – other states coming in which makes up 45% of sale
        • Individuals can make $60,000/year which is not taxed and social security is not taken out
    • Ballot question has enough signatures and if so, it would become legal
    • Cash business aspect
      • It is an all cash business because it can’t come across state lines
      • Suggestion: start slow in MA with baseline data to compare to if it becomes legal
    • Additional problems include drugged driving, target on kids, pesticides, purity of THC
    • Revenue produces more costs than raising money
  • Sheriff: Important to note that marijuana is still a violation of federal law
    • Federally, we are not enforcing these laws
    • We are in a presidential election – we hope to have some influence on a national level if possible to enforce these laws – Dept. of Justice
  • S2022 – An Act relative to substance use prevention
    • Biggest push back:
      • Doctors holding person against will
      • Amount of prescriptions given – they want 3 day maximum, but agreed informally on 5 day maximum
  • Dr. Muse’s perspective: the law will change nothing by putting a limit on the number of days for prescribing
    • Doctors can up the # of pills within the 5 day limit
    • The law would need to include follow up by doctors if meds are prescribed for more than 5 days
  • House and Senate bill – conference committee
    • They can choose between House & Senate bill, but won’t be able to add anything
  • Robert Sullivan, Chief Legal Counsel, Representative Garrett Bradley
    • House Bill: 2 amendments – revises section 35
      • This would extend it – warrant in effect for 5 days; no burden on police dept.
    • Dashboard – real time updates relative to treatment beds/services and section 35 procedures
  • Any highlights to add are welcome – more down the line on this

D.  Data Collection Subcommittee

  •  Drug Free Communities Survey
    • Five communities: Whitman – Hanson, Rockland, Brockton, East Bridgewater
    • Combination of YRBS, CTC survey – 17 questions, opportunity to add 10 questions (mental health, nutrition, etc.)
  • Provides baseline data
  • Data collection is helpful in order to: make your case, place your resources where the need is, zone us in, get people’s attention
  • We now have hospital data broken down on the # of opioid overdoses
  • Goal: To think about an annual report for the taskforce
  • A series of trainings will be planned starting in May and will be hosted at BSU
    • Trainings can be pulled from the talent in the room: speakers bureau
  • A DFC presentation recently took place at the Sheriff’s Dept. for local community coalitions interested in learning more about the grant process
  • Kingston coalition just started up – support given by the DA’s office
  • Hingham is starting a new drug court
    • There is only one trial court in the county that does not have a drug court: Wareham
    • There has been a shortage of drug court PO’s and judges
III.  Revised Flow Chart of our Task Force Model – Changes
  • Ed Jacoubs overseeing the Data-Collection Subcommittee as well as the Community and Faith-Based Coalitions
    • He will be reaching out to set meetings with these groups
    • The faith-based coalition is interested in bringing together churches to educate them around these issues: consequences à choices (May/June)


IV.  JAG Update

  • The DA’s Office was awarded $165,000 through the JAG EOPPS Grant which will help to fund the efforts of the taskforce:
    • Training for law enforcement and ADAs
    • Prosecution $$ – heroin, fentanyl cases
    • Police overtime
    • Presence of diversion officers at community coalition meetings
    • Class A investigations; technology – phones are key in investigations
    • Website for the Plymouth County Drug Abuse Task Force

V.  Open Discussion

  •  Dr. Muse questioned whether or not we are going after physicians – DA mentioned it is often hard to prove it
    • He also questioned the issue with marijuana being a gateway drug – the laws are not severe enough and are we doing anything more about this?
      • The vast majority of marijuana cases are not taken seriously
      • There would need to be a legislative change
      • Wrong message sent to kids – consequences are much more severe for alcohol use than marijuana
  • Joanne Peterson mentioned her concern regarding treatment facilities sending patients home with dangerous combinations of drugs after the fact that they have been detoxed – curing patients with methadone should be no cause for celebration
    • There has been much pushback on this opinion, but she sees treatment providers trying to treat the problem with the problem
VI.  Adjournment