He said the position wasn’t needed just to combat the growing problem of heroin or opiates, but also to focus on other issues such as marijuana and alcohol abuse as well as any other problems young people typically grapple with.
“Divorce, suicidal thoughts, drug issues, loneliness, isolation - that’s part of our program, too,” he said. “That’s our concern - helping young people move forward and make the right choices.”
He said the position could also leverage additional help from area colleges and universities whose masters’ level students could work as social work interns “specializing in youth.”
While a dozen or so people sat in the audience to support restoring the position, not everyone was in favor of it.
Mary Carbone of 10 Cyr Circle said that when she was 11 years old her mother died and she depended on the Notre Dame nuns for help, not Andover Youth Services.
“Adults are not doing what they are supposed to do,” she added, her voice rising and quivering. “They have two people in the family who work and the latch-key children are lost. Bill Fahey is not the answer.”
Mike Roli of 2 College Circle, however, called Fahey a “savior” to the young people of Andover.
“The kids he’s dealing with get into marijuana and they are lost,” he said. “He is the after-school discipline. Parents are not putting enough discipline in place. That’s why I call him a savior.”
Kelly Sutliffe, of 1 Carter Lane, agreed, saying the town needed someone to help struggling teens and their families.
“We know families whose children are dealing with drugs,” she said. “We need to prevent kids who are going to overdose on heroin.” She said a baggie of heroin sells for just $8 on the street. “That’s cheaper than a joint,” she said, adding that a friend of her daughter’s is an addict.