BARNSTABLE – With the ongoing drug epidemic on Cape Cod, Gosnold, the Cape’s largest substance abuse treatment facility, is moving into the elementary schools.
Gosnold CEO Raymond Tamasi said putting counselors into younger grades in local schools, in addition to high schools, has been a success.
“Ultimately, that’s what we’re trying to do is to interrupt the cycle, to change the direction of where some of these cases go, and to really get much more involved in the prevention and early intervention stages of this illness,” he said.
So far the counselors are in schools in the towns of Barnstable and Falmouth but other Cape school districts have requested counselors, he said.
For high schools, Gosnold is in Barnstable High School, Falmouth High School and Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Harwich. They are in Sturgis East Charter Public School and Sturgis West Charter Public School.
For lower grades, Gosnold counselors are in Barnstable Intermediate School, which has sixth and seventh graders, Morse Pond School in Falmouth, which has fifth and sixth graders; and Hyannis West Elementary School in the Barnstable school system.
“We’re talking to some other districts. It’s really a matter of both finding the workforce, getting folks who are able to do this work and do it well, and really just developing the partnerships with the school systems to begin implementation,”” he said.
Gosnold will be in Dennis-Yarmouth High School and the Mattacheese Middle School in West Yarmouth after the first of the year.
Also after the first of the year, Tamasi said, the counselors will be in Falmouth elementary schools.
The purpose of the counselors, who meet individually with high-risk students as well as with classrooms of students, is to instruct, intervene and change the culture around drugs, Tamasi said.
“It really is much more than intervening with individual students although that seems to be the focus initially in almost every school,” he said.