In May 2016, a group of concerned citizens, including many families directly affected by the opioid crisis, began to raise awareness about substance use disorders on Martha’s Vineyard. The grassroots effort led to the development of the Martha’s Vineyard Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Coalition, an unincorporated Island-wide community coalition composed of the major health and social support institutions and concerned citizens on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard.
The mission of the Martha's Vineyard SUD coalition is to engage, advocate, bridge service gaps, raise awareness, and decrease stigma of substance use disorders through education, prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts.
We believe that addiction is an illness - not a choice or a moral failing.
We believe that individuals suffering from substance use disorder and their loved ones need continual support throughout addiction, treatment, recovery, and beyond.
We believe that ending stigma and breaking down barriers for effective prevention, treatment and recovery efforts are essential.
We believe that substance use disorder prevention and education is critical to behavioral and physical health.
We believe that substance use disorders require treatment, and individuals in treatment deserve respect and support, just like anyone with a chronic illness - mental or physical.
We believe there are many different pathways to recovery and each individual determines his or her own way.
We believe that together we can combat and erase the stigma surrounding addiction and substance use disorders.
PROGRESS TO DATE
The coalition consists of a number of working groups supporting specific research and public awareness initiatives. Accomplishments to date include:
- Developed formal agreements and partnerships with three off-Island detox facilities to give Islanders easier access to detox facilities that do not exist on the Island. The MV Detox Referral Access Program began in 2017 as collaboration between MV Hospital, MV Community Services, Gosnold Inc. in Falmouth, Stanley Street Treatment and Resources in Fall River, and AdCare in Worcester to help individuals on their path toward recovery. An average of 90 placements a year have been made since the inception of the program in January 2017. In 2020, Island Health Care joined the partnership.
- Recruited, trained and employed a cadre of Recovery Coaches at MV Community Services and MV Hospital to accompany patients to and from detoxification, and provide support for follow-up treatment. A Recovery Coach is a trained professional who guides and supports an individual in the recovery process and helps to prevent relapse. Coaches act as a combination counselor, sponsor, friend, and mentor to help patients develop goals, locate resources, and learn the skills necessary to live a sober and productive life.
- MV Community Services opened an Urgent Care Center (Island Intervention Center) with capacity to respond to dual diagnoses, as well as provide Medical Assisted Treatment (including Suboxone and Vivitrol) for both alcohol - and opioid-based disorders, as well as counseling and testing through MV Community Services Island Counseling Center.
- Created a coalition website, resource guide, and Facebook page as tools for information sharing and community engagement.
- Helped organize and promote a Candlelight Vigil on the Island as part of an effort to draw attention to the opioid epidemic for International Overdose Awareness Day.
- Initiated a working group to explore the feasibility of an Island-based public health education effort focused on changing the Island’s culture of substance use.
- Dukes County and Health Imperatives partnered with the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod brought a Harm Reduction Center to the Island. Services are located at Health Imperatives and include free clean needle exchange, syringe access, STI and HIV/HepC testing, Narcan training and distribution, overdose education, home delivery, secondary exchange and short-term primary care and referrals to appropriate services.
- MV Community Services opened a Peer Recovery Support Center at the Red House - a collaboration between programming and the MV Hospital funded by the Department of Public Health. The center offers a safe haven for individuals in recovery, offering healthy recreational and wellness activities along with educational and employment supports. Members of the recovery community support the peer to peer recovery model to help meet the needs of the community.
- An initiative to create a comprehensive Narcan education program for the Island to educate and train municipalities, health/social services populations, and the community at large.
The coalition has representation from the following stakeholders:
Concerned community members
Members of the recovery community
AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod
Aquinnah Police Department
Break the Silence MV
Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office
Chilmark Town Police Dept
Dukes County Administration
Dukes County Commissioners
Dukes County Community Corrections
Dukes County Sheriff's Department
Edgartown Police Department
Healthy Aging MV
Island Clergy Association
Island Health Care
Island Wide Youth Collaborative
Learn to Cope
Martha's Vineyard All Island Boards of Health
Martha's Vineyard Community Services
Martha's Vineyard Hospital
Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools
NAMI Cape Cod and Islands
Oak Bluffs Police Department
Patient Centric MV
Tisbury Police Department
West Tisbury Police Department
YMCA of Martha's Vineyard
Youth Task Force