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North Adams Board of HealthDecember 16, 2015
Meetings & Notices
BOARD OF HEALTH
Conference Room #202
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
TIME: 4:30 p.m.
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING:
REPORT OF CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER:
REPORT OF DIRECTOR OF HEALTH/SANITARIAN:
NEW BUSINESS: Tapestry Health (Needle Exchange Program)
December 16, 2015
Members Present: Brendan Bullett (Chairperson) John Meaney (Member)
Kevin Lamb Member)
Others Present: James O’ Brien, Director of Health / Code Enforcement
Melissa Martin (BOH Secretary) Richard Alcombright (Mayor) Liz Whynottt (Tapestry Health), Wendy Penner (NBCC), Sarah DeJesus (Tapestry Health), Ed Sedarbaum, Jennifer Kimball
(BOAPC / Berkshire Planning), Tim Purington (Tapestry Health)
Brendan Bullet made a motion to accept and waive the reading of the minutes of the previous meeting, seconded by John Meaney. Unanimous vote.
Mayor Alcombright welcomes all for this needle exchange program discussion. He thanks all including the Board. At this time he congratulates the Board on taking on the tobacco issues that are in our community which again will meet in January. He mentions that there has been talk over the past several months regarding needle exchange and some difficulties in the community. We all know we have an epidemic here with respect to the heroin issue and opiates, not only in North Adams but everywhere. Some topics are not very comfortable, but people are looking for a solution. Part of the support system for the epidemic is this needle exchange. The Mayor asks the Board to listen to the presentation and make decisions or act. He sees this as yet another piece of a solution, arrests, policing, response, and other solutions benefiting the community. Like the methadone clinic with Soboxin, Brien Center, Berkshire Health Systems. Yet another great piece of the puzzle for providing local services for the solution.
Tapestry Health Harm Reduction Program
Tim Purington thanks the board and Mayor for being upfront about this issue.
So today we are going to talk about the needle exchange program showing 2 different models Northampton & Holyoke) to choose from, local approval requirements and Tapestry’s experience.
Power point presentation - Tim Purington and Liz Whynott (copies attached)
Tim has research that he can forward to the board if we want that information.
Wendy Penner mentions that Hep C has surpassed HIV and North Adams is a hot spot area for Hep C. Mayor Alcombright stated that Tapestry Health was here in North Adams in the 80’s and currently has an office at MCLA. Director O’Brien askes that if approved for the site, would you have a syringe hot line for the pickups? He asks because there is already an issue of discarded needles in inappropriate places. Tim said “yes” we would entertain that. We want to be part of the solution not the problem, but we need to figure out what we can afford to do. Not aware of what the State would be funding, but there is definitely a significant need here in North Adams but small area. We want to be part of the solution and come up with the strategies that will address these issues. Director O’Brien asks that in coming into the community, how do you determine the model that would best reflect on the City of North Adams? Tim stated that we would need to have discussion with people that really know the community. They have already talked a little with Wendy (NBCC). One question would be who really leaves North Adams? People come and go but not many don’t leave because just the nature of how we live. What can we afford and how do we reach these people? If people don’t trust us, if they think the police are going to be using surveillance and not safe to come in, the program will be useless. At least some kind of site with limited hours to start. Again, depending on funding.
They are working on a focus group with users / population to ask the best model. Chairperson Bullet asks what is their relationship with local police departments? Tim replies great. This overdose situation is really changing the relationship with others, because they were experiencing overdoses and initially needed to get access to Narcan and asking us how to obtain it, but with this opioid issue we are all dealing with, has really shifted people’s minds and people are much more open to discussing things and strategies. Chairperson Bullets asked if they helped up with a public relations stand point. Yes, they stand behind the program. It’s not always the most popular, but it’s cost effective. People can look at this objectively, the program saves money. Overdosing can happen in any family. Member Lamb asked if they have any obligations to report. Is there an ethical type line that you can cross from time to time? We are court mandated reporters stated Tim; we are required to report certain circumstances. But, that has never happened. It’s an opportunity to council people. We try to focus that the program is here for “you” the community. Everyone is watching us all the time. Everyone should be on their best behavior or the program will be shut down and people appreciate this. No problems of people acting out in other towns. Mayor Alcombright mentioned the bigger dealers usually stay in the shadows and don’t want to be notice or recognized, the disease and the nature of the crime does this. Member Meaney stated that this will be extremely beneficial; we (N Adams Ambulance) get calls now along with the Police Department. He agrees that we need to put something in place. Tim mentioned exploring the option to work closer with first responders for individuals to get the proper help. We work a lot with the coalitions through Western Mass stated Liz. Education is needed for medicated assistant programs. Liz stated that its not people that want to be treated, but treatment not available. One thing Tapestry Health mentioned is that we start doing presentations in the community. Needle exchange is one of those programs that a few people in the community that are going to be very loud and hate it and opposed to it even with the research. Tim said to start the program then do the community education once it’s begins. The average homeowner is terrified of this but doesn’t know much about it except they see that it’s everywhere. (Presentation over)
Report of the Code Enforcement Officer:
10 Inspection and 2 Re-Inspections thus far generating $360.
The board affirms the condemnation of 129 Hall Street, owned by Charles Ransford. Property he just obtained. Director O’Brien got called out by the Police Department on 12/18 at 9pm. Two young children with animals at this property. (Pictures are viewed by the board) They are currently working on cleaning the property.
106 East Quincy Street, owned by Mike Sales. The owner was installing an oil tank and furnace and hooked up the wrong plumbing to each allowing the oil spill in the basement. There was enough material for (2) 55 gal drums to be filled. No permit for plumbing, pellet stove and furnace hook up. No smokes detectors, egresses were amess.
Director O’Brien reported that we are moving forward with the online permitting. Based on the amount of permits, the first year may $0 expense. After year 5, there will be a cost, only for maintenance.
The next Meeting will be January 20, 2016.
Meeting adjourned at 5:37pm.
Melissa J. Martin