There are a lot of resources on the Island for individuals dealing with substance use disorder. In a piece for our special section on the issue, published in February, Charles Silberstein and Laura Roosevelt wrote about some of those resources.
There are programs focused on SUD — 12-step; Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has a 24-hour treatment team; Vineyard House, M.V. Community Services, and the Red House are just some of them. The schools also have programs aimed at helping students who are using drugs and alcohol.
All of that doesn’t mean the problem is licked. Indeed, experts in the field tell us that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem. More people have turned to alcohol and drugs in an attempt to find comfort.
A new program has been launched on the Island to help identify at-risk individuals. Called the HUB Table, it’s a program that was developed in Canada.
Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee was familiar with the program when he came to the Vineyard from Plymouth. He found a willing ear in recovery coach Brian Morris to establish a HUB Table on the Island.
So what is it?
HUB Table is an “evidence-based, rapid intervention, designed to identify at-risk individuals or families and link them to a consortium of health and human service providers because they are deemed to be at elevated risk,” Morris told us.
On Wednesday mornings, key members of the community gather together with Morris. (These days via Zoom, but they hope to eventually gather around an actual table.) The participants include individuals trained in getting people the help they need — M.V. Community Services, Island Health Care, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, mental health counselors, clinicians, housing agencies, Island Food Pantry representatives, Vineyard House employees, spiritual leaders, and law enforcement.
They talk about the specifics of individual cases without violating the privacy of that individual. If the team of professionals thinks the person is a good candidate for intervention, a smaller team of three or four is assigned to go out to meet with the individual and family members to start the process of finding a place for treatment.
Even though members of law enforcement are involved, Morris and McNamee made it clear that this program is about helping individuals, not gathering intel to hold someone criminally responsible.
The best part of HUB Table is that it gets the Island’s resources together in one place, all working together for the common good.
The program is there “to open the door for someone,” Morris told us. “They just have to walk through it.”
With the emphasis on urgency and absolute anonymity, the HUB Table is directly available to anyone who needs it.
Think someone in your family or friend circle is showing warning signs of substance use disorder? HUB Table facilitator and coordinator Brian Morris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 508-964-0940. To learn more about those warning signs, see the Martha’s Vineyard Substance Use Disorder Coalition’s website at bit.ly/MVSUDsigns.
This program, like the other resources on the Island, has the potential to save and turn lives around. It’s another arrow in the Vineyard’s SUD-care quiver. For that, Morris, McNamee, and the others so actively involved in bringing it to the Island deserve our appreciation.