Making Democracy Work

Substance Review Commission

Laura Brothers, Observer

Mission of the Substance Abuse Commission: To prevent substance abuse among Falmouth's citizens, provide information and education to the community and to promote the development and availability of a continuum of substance abuse services for all Falmouth residents.

The Substance Abuse Commission meets on the 4th Thursday of the month at 5:15 pm at the Gus Canty Community Center, 2nd floor meeting room. The members are Beverly Costa-Ciavola (Chair); Kath Schilling; Donna Mello; and Mike Colgan. Also, attending each meeting is Suzie Hauptmann the Director of Falmouth Human Services.

Falmouth Substance Abuse Commission (FSAC) meetings generally focus on how to improve Commission functioning and how to build membership to reach quorum. Currently quorum is set at 9 members, but the commission only has 4 members. This means that no meeting ever has quorum and official votes cannot be taken. Priority items of FSAC are to get the membership number required for quorum to be lowered and to attract more members. The issue of membership required for quorum is to be voted upon during the Spring Town Meeting.

In addition to pursuing sufficient membership to take official votes, the Commission is engaged in developing a Strategic Plan on how best to meet its mission. The needs and resources of the Falmouth community regarding substance abuse have evolved since the Commission's founding in the 1980s. To that end in the fall of 2017 the Commission employed a consultant (Cheryl Bartlett-Greater New Bedford Community Health Center) to assess FSAC and identify potential next steps for the Commission to better meet its mission. FSAC has also hosted a series of guests to speak on what resources are available and where the Commission may fill or bridge gaps in services and community needs. Groups invited to the meetings include: Falmouth Police, Falmouth Public Schools, Falmouth Human Services and Gosnold's Prevention Division. Members of FSAC appear highly knowledgeable and dedicated to the community. The [non quorum] monthly meetings are held in an open manner with members of the public in attendance. Meetings are conducted respectfully and amicably. Questions from the public are addressed in a respectful and thorough manner. Agendas and minutes are posted online with appropriate timeliness.