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10 Takeaways from Oct. 20 Board of Health Meeting

The Board of Health heard from Maria Ruggiero of the Front Line Initiative about Narcan administration training and substance use prevention and resources. It also heard a keeping of animals permit request and an update on animals kept in non-compliant conditions at 175 Kendall Rd. 

View the agenda here.

Member Susan Amato was absent.

1. Maria Ruggiero, substance abuse prevention coordinator for the Front Line Initiative, a regional police mental health collaborative, came before the board to discuss Substance Abuse Awareness Month and to demonstrate the use of Narcan to reverse an overdose.

Ruggiero passed out Narcan to board members and explained that Narcan has become easier to use and can be administered through the nose with one spray and resuscitating breaths. Ruggiero emphasized the importance of calling 911 as soon as an overdose is identified.

Ruggiero noted that addiction is a disease rather than a moral failure, and the Front Line Initiative is here to help connect people and their loved ones with resources and services to move into recovery.

2. Narcan is available for any resident to pick up at the police station or from a pharmacy with insurance. Ruggiero noted that the District Attorney’s office funds doses of Narcan through forfeiture money rather than taxpayer dollars. She also passed out doses at the recent 11th Annual Tewksbury Overdose Vigil.

Chair Ray Barry, a member of the Upper Merrimack Valley Medical Reserve Corps, noted that Narcan isn’t complicated to use, and can be an important stopgap measure to help people suffering an overdose. “For me, it’s vitally important that people know how to administer Narcan,” he said. Ruggiero added that she never leaves home without Narcan in her purse.

3. Member Charles Roux asked Ruggiero for her thoughts on the recent passage of Articles 8, 9 and 10 at town meeting, which provide for a licensing and zoning structure to allow for future retail marijuana outlets, in line with the state’s Cannabis Control Commission regulations.

“I’m a little put out that we weren’t intensely involved,” he said of the board.

Ruggiero said that the changes would necessarily make it easier for people to get marijuana, but “it doesn’t matter what I think or what you think,” she said. “What matters is making sure our kids don’t try it until they’re old enough and the brain is fully developed.” Ruggiero is already planning educational outreach as part of the substances of first use grant, and would prefer to see a certain percentage of dispensary profits go towards prevention efforts. Marijuana is regulated at the state level by the Cannabis Control Commission.

4. The board adopted an amendment to the fee schedule, which changes wording surrounding body art apprentice regulations.

Member Bob Scarano asked if retail marijuana fell under the board’s foodstuff purview regarding sales of brownies or gummies with marijuana as part of the fee schedule. Health director Shannon Gillis said that prepackaged goods don’t require additional permitting.

5. The board reviewed a keeping of animals permit requested by Roberto Ingoglia of 1015 South St. Ingoglia and his family moved from Plymouth, a right-to-farm community, and have experience raising animals. The family rehomed several goats, but are seeking to keep eight chickens and three ducks, Daisy, Donald and Butters, who are viewed as family members to Ingoglia’s son.

In 2018, the town eased restrictions to allow residents to keep up to 12 hens and no roosters in an enclosure. Animal control officers reported that the Ingoglias have a great setup for the birds, and a neighbor testified that the Ingoglias are great animal caretakers, having watched her dogs while she was abroad. The board voted to approve the application.

6. The board discussed noncompliance issues at 175 Kendall Rd. with owners Michele and Giuseppina Saladino. The Saladinos are out of compliance with a 2019 order letter from the health department, which ceased an animal permit at the property and ordered animal structures to be taken down. The town discovered that the owners had unrestrained dogs and had gotten more chickens and more rabbits. The Saladinos’ son said that his father was not able to care for the animals.

The board gave the owners 10 days to get the rabbits and chickens off the property, and an animal control inspection may occur any day after November 1. The board planned to go over compliance in November in order to avoid going to court over the issue.

7. Gillis reported that a letter was sent to the owners of 199 Marston Street regarding animals on the property. Town counsel Kevin Feeley has met with the owner’s attorney, and there are ongoing court cases regarding the power of attorney on the property. Once the cases are resolved, the remaining horses and goats will be removed from the property.

8. The town recently held a flu clinic at the senior center and vaccinated 87 residents. Homebound residents can call town hall to make an appointment. The town will also be holding a COVID-19 clinic at the senior center next month for the omicron variant bivalent booster. Gillis also shared that residents can pick up COVID-19 tests from town hall or call for drop off if they may be infected.

9. The health department is working with the fire and building departments to jointly oversee the closure of the Jade East on Main Street. The restaurant has had several issues with food code violations and building and fire concerns. The three departments have talked to the owners about the changes that would need to be made in order for the restaurant to be safely reopened. The restaurant had been closed a year ago for similar issues but conditions haven’t improved.

10. Barry expressed his wish to include more themed educational components to meetings, such as substance use disorder information for October. He suggested that future meetings cover hoarding resources and support, and food safety prior to the holiday season. The board will meet next on November 17, 2022.

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One Comment

  1. George Ferdinand George Ferdinand October 27, 2022

    3. It does matter what every BOH member thinks on Town Health Issues. New Cannabis business in our town falls into that category? Doesn’t It? In our State Constitution “the age of majority”, or the age at which residents are legally considered adults is Eighteen. Government can and does set regulations. Today, many regulations are going too far and many of us are getting tired of it. Less Regulations the better!

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