VIDEO: Belt Tightening Measures Will Likely Leave Health Department without a Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator

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Board of Health members learned on Nov. 18 that the position of Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator has been cut from the municipal budget.

The news, announced by Health Director Jeff Stephens, was unexpected. But with new growth, such as the construction of the Hanover Westford Valley residential building, slowing down, budgetary decisions are likely to bring disappointing news to some department heads.

“I got my town manager recommended budget back Friday afternoon and it has been cut,” Stephens said.

He noted that since 2016 there have been 27 deaths related to opioids, alcohol or suicide and at least six students were caught with vape devices.

But Ross stated, “Unfortunately, this is a tight budget year and I was not able to fund all budget requests. I felt the open police and fire positions were higher priority and consistent with the selectmen’s Budget Policy Direction.”