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Falmouth weighs best uses for opioid settlement funds

Courtesy Town of Falmouth

Towns throughout Cape Cod will see about 15 million dollars in opioid settlement funds in the coming years.

Falmouth has been trying to figure out where its share of the money is needed most.

The Town's Commission on Substance Use has done community engagement with people affected by the opioid epidemic.

Their feedback said a missing service in the town is recovery navigators, someone to help people in recovery find housing and jobs.

Beverly Costa-Ciavola chairs the group and spoke at this week’s Select Board meeting.

She said having navigators could be an important step, but stigma also needs to be addressed.

“But first I think we need to deal with the stigma because businesses are not going to hire people coming out of treatment who are in recovery because they don’t trust that they will stay in recovery. And sometimes they don’t, but isn’t it worth giving them a shot?”

The Commission is aiming to put out a grant application for the funds early next year.

Costa-Ciavola also said the group's local outreach found some of the biggest service gaps are affecting young people.

Select Board Chair Nancy Taylor echoed the idea.

“The need to identify and to treat early trauma for me is huge for kids and for adolescents. And the other piece is the lack of enough behavioral health support, you know, particularly for kids and adolescents.”

Some funds could be used to conduct a new youth behavioral risk survey in Falmouth Public Schools.

The settlement money can be used for prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction.

Brian Engles is an author, a Cape Cod local, and a producer for Morning Edition.