Making Democracy Work

Substance Review Commission

Laura Brothers, Observer
Submitted 2/21/19

Please note that the content of this report is based only on the published agendas of the 9 meetings held by the Falmouth Substance Abuse Commission between Feb 14, 2018 and Feb 21,2019, as well my attendance to three of those meetings. The most recent meeting observed was October 25, 2018.

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 5:30 pm at the Gus Canty Community Center, 2nd floor meeting room. The members are Beverly Costa-Ciavola (Chair); Kath Schilling; Esther Ann Price. Also, attending each meeting is Suzie Hauptmann the Director of Falmouth Human Services. The Commission is currently short 2 members.

Since the last LWVF Observer report the Falmouth Substance Abuse Commission (FSAC) has made important strides. Previously the Commission had been operating with an unattainable quorum and was beginning the process of defining a Strategic Plan to better meet its mission. In April's Town Meeting the Commission's quorum was set to a more realistic 5 members and, for a time this year, the Commission was able to take votes and operate in an official capacity. Other Commission successes include continual engagement with community partners. Meetings hosted and cultivated discussions with the Falmouth Police Department, Sober Houses, WellStrong, Recovery Without Walls, Falmouth Board of Health and Barnstable County Regional Substance Use Council. In addition, the Commission partnered to sponsor several well-received events and programs including the April 8th presentation by Dr. Ruth Potee at Falmouth High School and the Hidden in Plain Sight Program with the Falmouth Police Department. Unfortunately, due to work schedule changes, the Commission is presently short two members. Recent meetings have once again had to revisit how to build membership to reach quorum.

Members of FSAC appear highly knowledgeable and extremely dedicated to the community. The [non-quorum and 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 are posted online with appropriate timeliness.