Minutes- January 2018

I. Welcome – District Attorney Tim Cruz – NDAA Opioid Working Group
  • The DA announced that he is part of the National District Attorney’s Association Opioid Working Group which is comprised of 34 additional prosecutors
  • He acknowledged that MA is in front of many other states who have this problem
  • The DA has shared information to this taskforce regarding PCO, PCO HOPE and the Plymouth County Drug Abuse Taskforce – he noted that the taskforce is interested in receiving more information on how these programs function so effectively
  • Other topics that are discussed with this taskforce include:
    • Prosecutor-based vivitrol programs
    • Homicide charges on dealers
    • The idea of a nationwide database on prescription drugs being prescribed
    • The dark web
    • Increasing penalties for fentanyl
    • Law for carfentanyl distribution
    • Synthetic drugs – K2, Spice, etc.
    • Breaking encryptions of phones due to Apple restrictions
II. Sheriff Joe McDonald – Dispose Rx
  • Sheriff McDonald shared a new initiative out of Walmart that is helping customers rid of their prescription opioids safely
  • Dispose Rx is being given out through Walmart pharmacies to individuals that are filling opioid prescriptions 
  • Dispose Rx is a small packet of powder that when mixed with warm water and the prescription pills, turns the substance into a “useless gel” that can be safely disposed of. 
  • The taskforce discussed the possibility of having these available at the county drop-in centers 
III. Judge Vitale – Brockton Drug Court
  • Judge Vitale announced that there are 36 participants in the program and 5 that are on warrant status
  • This has been the biggest group yet in comparison to 14 last July
  • They are seeing the largest % of women compared to other specialty courts
  • They are also seeing a large minority population, but there is lack of participation amongst this group
  • They graduated 3 men last May (all different ages, 20s, 40s, and 60s) and the youngest individual recently spoke at the New England Drug Court Conference
  • They are anticipating a graduation of 3 or 4 this year
  • Transportation remains a challenge for the program – there is a level of accountability when you see the participants more frequently
  • He noted that they are expanding their view of where to place individuals, but he has noticed that there is a lot of turnover at treatment programs with providers and recovery coaches which contributes to a lack of follow through
  • In terms of drugs that they are seeing, synthetics are a huge problem including K2, Spice, Kratom which is an herbal supplement that has opioid effects – they can test for this, but each test is about $100
  • Often, there are problems with testing for fentanyl because of the different compounds – there was a brief issue with people trying to challenge the tests
  • More people are using vivitrol and more are asking for it – he noted though that participants are given the 1st shot, and then they set up the 2nd shot, but the 3rd shot is the challenge
    • He did note that one participant has had great success with vivitrol, it has kept her accountable and everyone else is asking about it because of this
  • Judge Vitale shared that the EP HOPE Drop-In Center was a huge support for one of his Drug Court participants in gathering items for her family through volunteers
  • He also noted that if anyone is interested in attending Drug Court it is open to the public and takes place every Thursday at 2PM
  • Their staffing meeting is also held a 11AM on Thursdays to discuss any needs or problems – contact Judge Vitale if you are interested in attending this meeting
IV. Legislative Update – Sen. Vinny deMacedo and Rep. Randy Hunt
  • Rep. Randy Hunt discussed a bill linking illegal drug classification with the feds – he noted that the alternative is for DPH to be able to announce these drugs as illegal which would be instantly and for a specific period of time (6 months – 1 year)
  • He also shared that Baker released a second significant package to fight the opioids and heroin epidemic titled the CARE Act which would include:
    • Increase in access to treatment and recovery services
    • Strengthening of education and prevention efforts
    • Regulatory relief from the federal government to increase treatment access
V. Koren Cappiello/Hillary Dubois – RIZE Grant
  • Brockton Neighborhood Health Center (BNHC) was recently funded by RIZE Massachusetts to build collaboration with the Champion Plan, Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, Gandara Center, and High Point to better coordinate OUD treatment and recovery services, while establishing BNHC as a medical home for patients with opioid use disorder-(OUD).
  • The grant will focus on high-risk populations including those newly released from correctional facilities and individuals who are homeless.
  • The planning grant will address the following goals:
    • Save lives by expanding immediately accessible, evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder
    • Reduce harm and stop preventable deaths for those at highest risk
    • Address stigma through training, education, and partnerships
    • Support community-based prevention efforts
    • Test innovative new approaches to opioid addiction recovery
  • If selected for implementation funding, Brockton would receive $2 million dollars
  • Their next steps are to determine which organizations and individuals are willing to participate on the Community Advisory Board for project planning and complete an assessment of the local needs
  • Please contact Allyson Pinkhover, MPH, CPhT at pinkhoverA@bnhc.org or (508)427-4238 for more information on the grant and how to get involved
VI. SubCommittee Reports

A. Public Safety Report – Chief Mike Botieri and Chief Scott Allen

  • Chief Botieri announced recent updates that have been made to Plymouth County Outreach including the creation of an Advisory Board comprised of 12 Chiefs
  • He also noted an increase in collaboration among the healthcare community including DPH to incorporate their input
  • PCO is updating their MOU to be more flexible with section 35 – this will act as a last resort for the program
  • Chief Allen noted that upcoming PCO trainings will be open to everyone, but are mandatory for police departments
    •  Annual Review Overdose Monitoring Program Data Presentation
      Monday, February 12th from 10AM-12PM in the Moakley Auditorium at Bridgewater State University (100 Burrill Ave. Bridgewater, MA)
    • Changing Systems to Effectively Respond to the Opioid Crisis
      Tuesday, March 20th from 11AM to 1PM at Clean Harbors (101 Philips Dr. Norwell, MA)
    • Please RSVP for both by emailing your name and agency to sallen@ebmass.com
  • They also acknowledged the need for funding to ensure sustainability of the program
  • PAARI has provided PCO with a full-time Coordinator and 4 Recovery Coaches through AmeriCorps – these individuals focus on capacity building for the entire county
  • At each of the county’s drop-in centers, individuals are engaged by incorporating speakers each week – last drop-in 25 people attended and 2 were placed into treatment
  • Chief Allen announced that PCO met with the Lt. Governor to discuss funding possibilities and $100,000 has been included in the FY19 budget to support PCO – their goal is to use PCO as a pilot and then move it into other counties as well
  • HIDTA has also been a great partner to PCO – NE HIDTA has provided $36,000 to fund its database for the next year and CDC is looking to partner with PCO to highlight it as a national pilot program for data sharing
  • Chief Allen reported that the stigma is still very strong around medication assisted treatment within the recovery community and that individuals are not really clean if they use MAT
  • He noted that 4 people recently attended the Drop-In Center in East Bridgewater as a result of follow-up services through PCO
  • PCO is also holding a monthly recovery coach meeting to keep volunteers engaged

B. Data/PCO Overdose Report – Pam Kelley and Sean Verano

  • Data was presented by Pam which covered the period of 1/1/17 – 12/31/17
  • There were 1,759 overdoses reported by police departments in 2017
    • 87% non-fatal
  • Of the non-fatal overdoses, there was a steady climb from May to August
    • 8% fatal
  • Of the fatal overdoses, there was a low in July of 9 and a high of 16 in August with an average of 12 per month
    • 5% at-risk
  • The top five communities that were affected by overdoses included:
    • Brockton
    • Plymouth
    • Wareham
    • Rockland
    • Middleboro
  • 238 individuals overdosed multiple times in 2017 which account for 36% of the overdoses in the county
  • Moving forward KRA is going to work on doing an in-depth analysis of these individuals: how many were fatal, what do they look like, how are they doing, etc.
  • This analysis will help to determine what we can do differently next year
  • 35% of the overdoses in 2017 occurred within a different town that the individual resided in
  • In terms of follow-up visits 47% of incidences were warranted and 78% of follow ups were intended
  • There were 736 attempted follow-ups and at 34% of these visits police made contact
    • 14% accepted treatment
    • 16% declined treatment
    • 8% seeking treatment
    • 47% no contact
  • From May-December, 105 people reported seeking treatment
C. Medical Subcommittee Report
  • Karen Barry announced that on February 8th, the medical subcommittee will be meeting and will be discussing the Governor’s legislation to put a demand on hospitals to hold patients for bed placement

D. Education Subcommittee Report

  • The subcommittee is currently convening partners to set up a meeting
  • Mary Waldron announced that BSU continues to hold an opioid working group 1/month to involve faculty, staff, students and partners
  • She stated that the university is working on doing a better job of educating their community on the resources that are out there
    • They will be doing so through an upcoming resource fair in the spring to showcase options available in the community
  • Connect Partnership is also at the table at BSU which helps to share information and resources to other higher ed institutions
  • The Deans on campus also hold meetings once or twice a month to engage more students
  • They are working on certificate programs for social workers as they need training on this topic as well
  • In regards to the Narcan kits on campus, the taskforce asked: how often are these used on campus?
    • Mary noted that she will work on finding out further information in regards to the level of use and awareness on campus

E. Community Coalitions Report

  • Hillary Dubois noted that the willingness to talk about substance use with schools varies
  • She also reported that all top 5 communities experiencing the highest number of overdoses receive access to funding and services
  • New grants that have been submitted in the county are to address prescription drugs and heroin for youth under 18 as well as grandparents raising grandchildren and support for older adults in responding to the opioid crisis
  • Of the overdoses that occurred throughout the county, 36 were under the age of 18 which one being 13 years old- this number them jumps drastically when you look at the age category of 20-29
  • Recently, the Brockton Area Prevention Collaborative presented at the MIAA Conference with Dr. Dan Muse to discuss strengthening chemical health policies and the school’s role in athletic injuries
    • A new initiative that came out of this presentation, is an Acute Injury Protocol that is being recommended to schools which highlights the importance of providing an SBIRT screening to athletes when they return from an injury
  • Two focus groups have been conducted with Plymouth and Bridgewater Pediatrics to increase health literacy around substance use prevention
    • Focus groups indicated a high number of college aged students abusing stimulants
  • The Brockton Area Prevention Collaborative is hosting a peer led youth substance use prevention conference on June 5th at Bridgewater State University
  • Learn to Cope has now opened in Martha’s Vineyard and they have extended their focus to grandparents as well
    • On February 27th the taskforce will be bringing together county coalition groups to learn from one another and collaborate on future initiatives
    • At this meeting there will also be a special presentation from the FBI on internet sales
    • It will be held in the PCSD Amphitheater at 24 Long Pond Rd. in Plymouth

F. Faith-Based Report

  • Teen Challenge shared resources from their End Addiction campaign
  • Through this campaign, many individuals share their testimonies of where their addiction has taken them to and what they’ve done to overcome it
  • They are currently working on making presentations to middle schools, community organizations, etc.
  • Teen Challenge has a partnership with Mass Rehab – 2 licensed clinicians are in place to address deep rooted problems
  • They are also working to engage their alumni network so that individuals stay involved and they can ensure their success
  • They have increased their bed capacity to 110 – these renovations have offered more space and an increase in participants feeling valued as a result
  • Within the past year Teen Challenge has serviced 230 people in Brockton and they are now opening a 30-60 day program for specifically intervention with less restrictions
  • The new building for this program is up, but not open yet – participants will be able to interact with Teen Challenge participants
  • Teen Challenge has done outreach to Drug Courts as well as substance abuse units and reintegration units at prisons
  • They will be hosting a 5K Walk and you may contact Sean Merrill for further information going forward
  • A representative from the Bloom adolescent girls home which is a program out of Teen Challenge New England shared successes since their doors opened in January 2017 including:
    • 268 inquiry calls
    • 13 admissions
    • 7 completions
    • State licensed with the MA Dept. of Early Ed and Child Care
    • 750 hours of individual counseling
    • 6 parent workshops
    • Over 50 prevention/intervention community outreaches
  • The program serves young girls ages 12-18 and they can take a max of 10 individuals
VII. Updates:
  • Website is now live, and currently being worked on, any new additions or new events – please send along to Barbara Faherty – Barbara.j.faherty@state.ma.us
    • The taskforce web address is https://www.otf.plymouthda.com
  • February 8th – Medical Subcommittee Meeting PSCD, 24 Long Pond Rd.
  • February 12th – Mandatory Training for Data Officers for PCO (Open to Public), BSU Moakley Center
  • February 27th – Community Coalition Meeting with special presentation from the FBI on internet sales, PSCD Training Center, Amphitheater, 24 Long Pond Rd. Plymouth
  • May – Annual Conference at BSU
VIII. Adjournment