NYS OASAS 5 Year Plan – Hearing Testimony – Truth Pharm’s Submission

Dear Commissioner Sanchez,

Truth Pharm is thankful for the work that has been done and for the ways in which NYS OASAS has been attempting to respond to the overdose and addiction healthcare crisis.

We are also concerned as we move forward with several issues.

We would like to provide our input for the statewide plan here:

1. We believe OASAS should require all treatment providers to make 1 week, 1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 1 year follow-up calls to all patients who have participated in their programs. Until we start tracking the success of a person to maintain recovery AFTER discharge, we will never know the true success rates of our programs.

2. OASAS should develop an survey device to give to every single patient who engages in treatment in New York State to determine how long it took them to get an evaluation, how long it took them to receive treatment, how long they received treatment, what the barriers to treatment were, if insurance created any barriers to receiving treatment, how they were treated by the treatment providers and if they received a warm handoff to any follow-up services they needed (to name a few). This should be a survey they can fill out and drop in the mail or login online to fill out. This is a low cost way for OASAS to understand the system of treatment in NY, to monitor outcomes and determine if we are improving systems or not.

3. ALL OASAS treatment providers should be required to inform every patient of the modalities of treatment with statistical outcomes available even if that provider does not provide it. Also, all providers should be required to provide MAT and all providers should have group or treatment therapies available OTHER than 12 step models.

4. We would like to see NY OASAS embrace an integrative harm reduction therapy model where we recognize the stages of change.

5. Every treatment provider who discharges a patient for relapse should be penalized.

6. NY OASAS needs to do away with the smoking ban at treatment providers and require treatment providers to create smoking areas for patients. No patient should ever be kicked out of treatment for smoking and accommodations should be made for those who do smoke.

7. We must have longer inpatient care available for those who seek it.

8. We must have 24/7 access to care.

9. Greater access to MAT.

10. Immediate access to treatment and/or harm reduction providers through Emergency Room visits.

11. Banish all total abstinence models of treatment by our treatment providers. It should be OPTIONAL for patients to engage in a total abstinence model of treatment.

12. Require all treatment facilities, outpatient clinics and residential facilities to have all staff trained in the administration of Naloxone and to have Naloxone on premises.

13. Require all treatment facilities, outpatient clinics and residential facilities to provide patient and family or support persons with Naloxone training as well as a kit to take home upon discharge.

14. The OASAS Bed Availability Dashboard should allow for search by treatment type.

15. The OASAS Bed Availability Dashboard needs a button added to report to OASAS when a provider’s beds listed is inaccurate.

16. Of all the things OASAS can/should provide, the most beneficial may be staff that would immediately handle insurance denials so that treatment providers and/or patients are not burdened with this.

17. OASAS should constantly review the criteria that treatment facilities are using to provide medication assisted treatment (MAT). Many are not following the standard protocol for prescribing.

18. OASAS and New York State need to stop pumping funding and money solely into the system that has already failed us and explore new providers, how grassroots organizations are able to improve the issues with the epidemic and/or are already providing services without funding.

19. All treatment should be followed up with referral to recovery coaches.

20. Expansion of recovery supports within communities.

21. Drug user health supports with harm reduction in every county.

22. Harm reduction education at all treatment centers.

A reminder that it has been the grassroots organizations that have brought many of the issues of this epidemic to the forefront. Many of these organizations continue to be unfunded despite the work they have done to make our elected officials and regulators aware of the issues and to provide services within our communities. OASAS needs to invest in these organizations and break down the barriers to provide funding. They are the backbone of the communities, they are the direct link to those impacted and we continue to do the work as we see money directed towards those who have allowed our children to die. We need to be supported.

Thank you,
Alexis Pleus
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Our June 25, 2017 Letter to Broome County Executive Jason Garnar

We are tired of waiting for the county to take action. It is long past time for them to be responsible in their roles to protect the public. See our letter to County Executive Jason Garnar below. Be sure to click the news links to see what he thought should be done PRIOR to being elected.

We have been calling on the county to track and report overdose deaths and reversals since August of 2015. Here we are, nearly two years later, still waiting.

Call County Executive Garnar today and ask him when he’ll start doing all the things he was demanding of the last administration.

June 25, 2017

Jason Garnar
Broome County Executive
60 Hawley Street
Binghamton, NY 13901

Dear County Executive Jason Garnar,

On June 24, 2017 the Village of Johnson City Police issued a warning about a surge in heroin overdoses, including three fatalities. We thanked them for their proactive approach in alerting their community. Due to their proactive approach, Truth Pharm and STAP worked together to immediately respond by advertising, promoting and handing out life-saving Naloxone kits during a three-hour time-slot on Sunday. Twenty-four people were trained and obtained kits.

This is what the response to a public health emergency looks like.

Also, due to their proactive approach, the news media published stories about the overdoses and the handing out of Naloxone kits, which caused hundreds of people in Broome County to engage in conversations about the opioid epidemic. In addition, hundreds of people were educated about: the dangers of using alone; the need to call 911; a particularly strong or ‘bad’ batch of heroin that was circulating; harm reduction practices they could use to reduce overdoses; and the lifesaving medication Naloxone. Conversations that our community desperately needs. In addition, two people reached out to Truth Pharm and will be placed into inpatient treatment tomorrow.

On February 23, 2017 you attended our in-depth presentation to local elected officials outlining the dire need for both care and harm reduction approaches in Broome County. We also made it clear that tracking of overdose data – both deaths and successful revivals – is the responsibility of our county government and needs to be done accurately, consistently and actively reported to the public.

We have seen zero progress on this front. We have been making requests for this information since August of 2015, we are approaching two years since then, over one hundred deaths and thousands of overdoses with no change to the system.

Prior to being elected as County Executive, you agreed that the community should be notified. We have communications from you to us directly stating so and ridiculing the prior administration for not being responsible in doing so. And you made your opinion public to the media.  On August 12, 2016, WICZ started a report about overdoses with this line: “Broome County Executive Candidate Jason Garnar called for a public health warning on heroin overdoses Thursday night.” And later in the article included this as well, “Jason Garnar says it is a health risk when the public isn’t notified.” Garnar Calls for Public Health Warning   Garnar Wants Better Accounting by the County

On August 11, 2016, in an article published by the Press & Sun Bulletin: “First and foremost, Broome County needs to declare a public health emergency,” said Garnar, the Democrat challenging Preston in the November election. But “what I’m more concerned about is it seems our county executive is not saying anything about this. We should be doing everything possible to get the word out there that something is out there that is killing people left and right.” The website for that article includes a video of you stating how important it is for the County Executive to release CURRENT information to the public in order to save lives.  Garnar calls on Broome to Declare Opioid Emergency

It is nearly one year since you made those strong statements and you’ve been in office for six months. But, where is your action? Why aren’t you releasing notices to the public? You are now the one responsible to ensure the public is notified.

As we have in the past, we could provide multiple examples of other counties in New York State who are actively tracking and releasing overdose data, but we trust you can google and immediately find plenty of results just as easily as we can.

We also know this data already exists for the county. We recently learned that the county is planning to participate in a program to release all overdose data (deaths and reversals) to a mapping program run by the DEA. That mapped data will not be accessible by the public, but is utilized in drug investigations. We are beyond sickened to learn that the county is choosing to participate in an enforcement and further criminalization program as their priority over participating in issuing public health warnings and participating in harm reduction practices with data you ALREADY HAVE.

Your goal must be to save lives.

We are again requesting that the County Health Department immediately begin to take responsibility for counting the deaths of our loved ones due to substance use related causes and issuing that information to the public. This responsibility does not belong to the District Attorney, this is a health issue and belongs to our county health department.

We also want to remind you that funding from the state and federal government depends on accurately reporting both overdose and death data to state officials. We are being bypassed for funding, new programs and attention because our issues are not accurately reported.

Though it seems much of what was written in our letter of February 23, 2017, including working together cooperatively, has been ignored, we’ll attach the letter as a reminder of what we called for four months ago, please be sure to review request #3 which we’ll include below. The optimism we expressed in our letter is waning, but we as an organization continue to do the work necessary to save lives. You, as the County Executive, declared this opioid crisis a Public Health Emergency. With that declaration comes serious responsibility on your part.

  1. County Departments that responsibly track and publicize data in a timely manner including:
  • Naloxone uses by all departments and the number of doses required
  • Overdose deaths
  • Deaths by other causes, but linked to substance use
  • Criminal acts related to substance use disorders
  • Incarceration rates related to substance use disorders
  • Success rates of various forms of treatment
  • A public calendar of all events offered by providers, support groups and grassroots organizations
  • A comprehensive list of treatment options, modalities and services within our region, allowing individual organizations to add their information and website links

Sincerely,

Alexis Pleus
Founder and Executive Director

cc: Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, NYS Commissioner of Health Howard Zucker

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Our Letter to Middletown, Ohio Town Councilman Dan Picard

It is nearly impossible to wrap our heads around first the ignorance of this man, but second the cold, calculated, cruel nature. Please have a watch of this video: http://www.journal-news.com/news/middletown-council-member-can-stop-responding-overdoses/PUUgYB815ROOGRxIP28bTP/

Our response is below. We urge you all to send your own response. Here are the email addresses for Middletown’s government officials: http://www.cityofmiddletown.org/council/members.aspx

Mr. Picard,

We are a nonprofit organization that is fervently committed to reducing the stigma associated with substance use disorders, advocating for policy change on behalf of those that suffer with them, and raising awareness in hopes that educating our communities will help to reduce substance related death by means of rapid response, implementation of health and human service protocols, and, ideally and ultimately, recovery.

In short, our goal is to save lives so,needless to say, we were more than appalled by your recent proposition to refuse medical treatment to overdose patients. It pains and infuriates us to see how easily you have turned human lives into dollar signs and an impact on your budget.

We understand that you have decided against running for re-election. While that may lessen your interest in public opinion, it does not erase your responsibility to the people you currently serve. To suggest that you withhold emergency medical response to overdose patients is manslaughter at best and premeditated murder at worse. You won’t be “teaching them a lesson” or “making them afraid to overdose in Middletown.” You will be directly contributing to the exponential increase of deaths in your community. We will be sure to empower your community with the information they need to sue you and the entire town government if you choose to take this path for every life that is lost.

One key factor you are failing to recognize is that substance use disorders are exactly that, disorders. They are medical conditions that, particularly in cases of Heroin/Opiate use disorders, vastly alter brain chemistry. They compel the individual to use without “reason”. They convince the individual that using is a matter of life and death. To propose that you can withhold treatment, actively participate in the neglect of your citizens, and sit idly by as you watch the massacre that you created in the name of reducing use in your community is ignorant beyond words.

You have chosen the path of, “let them die and that will teach them a lesson.” The fact that you can even ponder this concept, much less suggest its implementation, is disgusting and sadistic. Your statements and suggestions come dangerously close to murder-for-hire. You have declared yourself as the Iceman, willing to trade lives for dollars, and we do not intend to mince words for the sake of courtesy as you have not extended courtesy to those around you.

We hope those in your family, those in your community, and those that share your responsibility to Middletown by holding public office do their very best to minimize the damage you intend to cause. We hope that the nurses, lawyers, public officials, and citizens that suffer quietly with these tremendously difficult disorders stand in firm opposition against you and any like you that consider human life expendable. More than anything, we hope Middletown can find a way to move forward in the face of this epidemic despite your best attempts to set them back.

As a public servant, your job is to serve. To serve is to find the resources necessary to keep your citizens safe and healthy. A more constructive and appropriate use of your time would be to compel your governor, your higher elected officials and the federal government to bring in the help necessary to save lives – not just with Naloxone, but with compassion, harm reduction and treatment.

Mr. Picard you are but one man. You may be a disturbed and misguided man but, you are only one man. There are many of us, and we will never stop fighting to save lives. The people you intend to let die are members of our families. We will always stand with them. Always.

Signed,
Alexis Pleus on behalf of all of the Rainmakers and 5,000 followers of Truth Pharm
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

HOPE for the Southern Tier – from OTHER Corners of New York

I was blessed to be able to attend an event yesterday hosted by NYS OASAS in Albany.
 
I want everyone to know, the things we have been asking for in the Southern Tier, the things we have said and have been mocked for, ridiculed for, told we don’t know what we’re talking about… the things we have gone ahead and picked up and started doing ourselves – they’re happening in other areas.
 
On one hand, this may sound upsetting or disappointing… but, honestly, hearing all of the things other people are implementing GAVE ME HOPE.
 
We were right all along.. we were right to work on stigma. We were correct when we said people should have IMMEDIATE access to an evaluation 24/7. We were right when we said we need to give police a place to take people OTHER THAN JAIL. We were right when we said people need to be offered compassion. We were right when we said hospitals need to get involved. We were right when we said OPIOID addiction is DIFFERENT. We were right when we said this is AN EMERGENCY. We were right when we said the system is fucked up. They all said the same things WE have been saying…
 
Remember in February when we released our dream for Broome County – to become the first fully integrated harm reduction county in New York… welp, we missed the boat on being the first! Bummer. HOWEVER, how exciting is it to hear that others are doing this!?!? They are doing exactly what we outlined!!! Independent evaluations available 24/7, drug user health hubs, harm reduction models, meeting people where they’re at, providing MAT with no hoops and loops to jump through! It’s happening folks!!
 
It’s happening in other areas. I heard it with my own two ears! I teared up so many times hearing this amazing news! There is hope. I feel like we have to double down, we have to work ever harder now to make these things happen in the Southern Tier. We cannot give up hope. And apparently, this still will need to come from the grassroots movement because there has been NO progress with the County. Yes, I’ll be hated again (or still) for saying that, but look, truth is truth. I heard Jason Garnar say in his interview with Susan Arbetter yesterday that we lost 30 people so far this year.
 
That is 30 too many.
 
Health Care Crisis means Health Care Crisis. It means all hands on deck. It means, TAKE ACTION, TAKE RISKS, SAVE LIVES. It means NOW.
 
I was also asked at the meeting yesterday by a Southern Tier professional, “What does BOAC even do?” Good question.
 
Come join our #Rainmakers let’s keep making progress. Let’s change our system. Let’s get help in the Southern Tier. Let’s KEEP saving lives. 
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

How Do You Choose to View a Tragedy?

This post is copied from a comment in a thread. The comment was written by Tom Kelleher who witnessed the incredible tragedy of the gentleman getting hit and killed by a driver who was arrested afterwards for driving under the influence of drugs and vehicular manslaughter.

We, as an organization, have seen an incredible up-swelling of stigma, damning language, insults and judgement towards people with substance use disorders since the tragedy. We grappled with whether we should provide a statement as an organization, or not. And then, we saw this… an approach with love. We couldn’t have written anything better. We reached out to Tom and with his permission, are sharing his words here.

Can we approach all things with love? Can we come together as a community to prevent more tragedies?

This situation is tragic, for everyone involved, all the way around. This woman and her family will feel the effects of this for a lifetime. My prayers go out to the poor man who lost his life, to this woman, to her family, to all of those who witnessed this tragic event and had to deal with the immediate consequences, and all of those who suffer addiction.

I have no judgment towards this woman. I have not walked in her shoes. I do not know the path of her life and what brought her to this point. We know not what others’ lives are like, what they experience or how they end up where they do. I have tried to approach this with “LOVE”… asking the question “What would love do?” A lesson taught to me by Anthony Tony Brunelli. I do not judge her. My first thought is “but for the grace of god, there go I.”

I have tried to approach this with “LOVE”… asking the question “What would love do?”

I too, had addiction issues in my life, that did take me to bad places and could have taken me to far worse ones. Addictions that could have taken me to the place this woman finds herself in. Addictions that could have destroyed me, my family, my life, and the lives of others. The purpose of this post is to show what drug addiction can do to someone, the path it leads them down, the tragedies that can occur, the consequences not just to them, but to their families, to others, to others’ families, to a community. If this post can deter, or change one person from going down this path, then it is more than worth it.

This post is meant to show compassion, healing, love, forgiveness. The post is meant to facilitate discussion on how we can treat addiction, as the way we currently treat it, is obviously not working. I have been working on the issue of addiction for quite some time. I have worked firsthand with individuals, trying to help them beat addiction. I have had a few successes. The path is long and hard, and the outcome never guaranteed. I have lost some to a lifetime of addiction, and lost some to death. People I knew and cared for, gone because of the horrificness of drug addiction. Dead, long before their time… passed away so young. The successes have been fulfilling, to see someone beat addition, a full life retrieved with happy marriage and children to follow, that I may have played some small role in… The addiction, hopefully a thing of their past… yet there are no guarantees.

Our area needs a full, in-house, long term treatment facility… truly long term, six month treatment, six month recovery house system. Our state and local representatives are way behind the curve as this type of facility should have been in place three years ago. Broome Developmental would be the perfect facility for this type of treatment program. It is already designed to handle inpatient, common open wards, common areas, recreation areas and the potential for recovery housing units. We should also have recovery houses located in the community.

We have had hundreds die in our own community due to this opioid crisis and government officials have been slow on the uptake to take serious actions. Secondly, this facility would be regional, helping communities across the state deal with this crisis, saving the lives of thousands, or tens of thousands of lives, as well as saving multi millions of dollars as a result of crimes committed to fund this addiction, as well as multi millions of dollars spent in our police, justice and penal systems, arresting those suffering from addiction – a MEDICAL condition, clogging court systems and jail systems, only to return them to the streets where there is practically zero chance of them beating this addiction on their own. We must, MUST, do something as a community to stop this. Please contact your state representatives – Fred Akshar, Clifford Crouch and Donna Lupardo.

But back to this moment. I witnessed this incident first hand, for this poor man being hit, then run over, then wedged underneath her car, and watched as he was dragged underneath her car for 100 feet. His body crumpled beyond recognition, broken and torn. I fought furiously, with many other people to attempt to save this man’s life, gathering bystanders together to flip this car off of him, and hopefully save him… but sadly, he had already passed.

Was I angry with her? Yes. But, I got past that immediately… I feel compassion for her, I feel badly for her. I feel badly for her family. Her child. My life, her life and this poor man’s life intersected that day, and I will never, ever forget it. It will impact me till the day I die. It has changed me.

This post was not to judge her, this was not to embarrass her. Far from it. I hold no ill will towards her, nor do I judge her. If she violated the law and is found guilty of a crime in relation to this incident, then our justice system and society will judge her. I do not. This man had no family that anyone is aware and he lived alone. He did not die alone that day, nor was the loss of his life in vain. A community came together to try and save his life, and a community came together to celebrate his life at a memorial service and vigil at my store.

Now, a community must come together to try and make certain these tragedies do not occur again and again. Life is precious. Life is fragile. ALL life.

There are no guarantees of a tomorrow for any of us.

Hold your loved ones closely, let them know how much you love them. We never know when our time comes. We never know when our last moment on this planet arrives. I wish everyone peace.

Love,

Tom Kelleher

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Broome County Support Groups

Southern Tier:

We just had a request to let someone know what support groups are available in our area, so here you go:

MUTUAL AID SUPPORT GROUPS:

Smart Recovery:
SMART Recovery is the leading self-empowering addiction recovery support group. Our participants learn tools for addiction recovery based on the latest scientific research and participate in a world-wide community which includes free, self-empowering, science-based mutual help groups.

The SMART Recovery 4-Point Program® helps people recover from all types of addiction and addictive behaviors, including: drug abuse, drug addiction, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, cocaine addiction, prescription drug abuse, sexual addiction, and problem addiction to other substances and activities. SMART Recovery sponsors face-to-face meetings around the world, and daily online meetings. In addition, our online message board and 24/7 chat room are excellent forums to learn about SMART Recovery and obtain addiction recovery support.

More information: http://www.smartrecovery.org/

Tuesdays 6:15pm
The HOPE 607 Project, Inc.
Broome County Urban League, 43-45 Carroll St
45 Carroll Street
13901 Binghamton New York
Main Contact:
Tim Giordani
Facilitator
+60 7-723 7303
EXT. 105
tgiordani@hope607.org

AA – Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of a new way of life without alcohol, a program that is working successfully for millions of men and women throughout the world, and in all walks of life. The experience of A.A. members is that alcoholism is a progressive disease that cannot be cured, but which can be arrested — by staying away from the first drink, one day at a time.

For more information and a list of meetings in the Southern Tier: https://aabinghamton.org/meetings.html

Email Us Anytime: sitemanager@aabinghamton.org
Email schedule changes to: schedule@aabinghamton.org
Email aa related events to post to: events@aabinghamton.org

Binghamton 607-722-5983
Cortland 607-753-1344
Ithaca 607-273-1541
Tioga County 800-307-4285

NA – Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous is a global, community-based organization with a multi-lingual and multicultural membership. NA was founded in 1953, and our membership growth was minimal during our initial twenty years as an organization. Since the publication of our Basic Text in 1983, the number of members and meetings has increased dramatically. Today, NA members hold nearly 67,000 meetings weekly in 139 countries. We offer recovery from the effects of addiction through working a twelve-step program, including regular attendance at group meetings. The group atmosphere provides help from peers and offers an ongoing support network for addicts who wish to pursue and maintain a drug-free lifestyle. Our name, Narcotics Anonymous, is not meant to imply a focus on any particular drug; NA’s approach makes no distinction between drugs including alcohol. Membership is free, and we have no affiliation with any organizations outside of NA including governments, religions, law enforcement groups, or medical and psychiatric associations.

For more information: http://www.na.org/

Local NA Chapter website with meeting list: http://www.tcana.net/

Triple Cities Area of Narcotics Anonymous ( TCANA )
PO Box 422, Binghamton, NY 13902-0422
(607)762-9116

Local Meeting list: http://www.tcana.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/TCANA22717.pdf

Brand New

A place to get clean and stay clean. Brand New meets every Tuesdays at 7pm at 1701 Riverview Dr, Endicott NY, Thursdays at 7 pm 90 Clinton St Binghamton NY. Groups for people battling drugs and alcohol or in recovery. Also a support group for the friends and family of the addict. We see real results and true freedom from addiction. We believe a life without drugs and alcohol should be exciting so we create positive outlets to have fun. Join us and Thrive in your recovery!

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1583552225231860/

Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery is a biblical and balanced program that helps us overcome our hurts, hang-ups, and habits.  It is based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory.

Thursday 6:30 PM – Windsor Bible Baptist Church, 157 Depot Street, Windsor, New York 13865
 Contact Person – Bob Klock
Phone – 607-343-5112
E-Mail – Bobk4cr@gmail.com
 

Another way to search for support meetings: http://meetings.intherooms.com/meetings/search?latitude=42.098687&longitude=-75.917974&proximity=100

FAMILY SUPPORT

Truth Pharm – Garden of Hope

We have a monthly meeting called Garden of Hope which offers an educational component and then a time to share or ask questions. Special guest speakers  included. A different topic each month.  The 3rd Monday of every month at 6:30pm at Tabernacle Methodist Church, 83 Main St, Binghamton, NY – Enter through back. Watch our facebook page and website for details: www.truthpharm.org

Families Anonymous

Families Anonymous celebrated our 40th Anniversary in 2011.  We were formed in 1971 by a group of concerned parents in California who were seeking ways of dealing with the problem of substance abuse and addiction in their children.  Our members include parents, grandparents, siblings, spouses, significant others, other family members and friends of those with a current, suspected or former drug problem.  We have been one of the best kept secrets in the recovery community, even though we have groups throughout the world.

For more information: http://www.familiesanonymous.org/

Meetings: http://www.familiesanonymous.org/image/data/WSOF-07-USDir2017.pdf

Al-Anon

In Al-Anon/Alateen, members do not give direction or advice to other members. Instead, they share their personal experiences and stories, and invite other members to “take what they like and leave the rest”—that is, to determine for themselves what lesson they could apply to their own lives.

For more information: http://al-anon.org/

Tuesday 06:30 PM 11 Brandywine Ave
Binghamton NY 13901
Map
use back door.
also open to professionals / students
Beginners
Wednesday 07:45 PM Christ Episcopal Church
10 Henry St
Binghamton NY 13901
Map
also open to professionals / students
Beginners
Thursday 07:00 PM Christ Episcopal Church
10 Henry Street
Binghamton NY 13901
Map
also open to professionals / students
Adult Children

Alateen

Alateen is part of Al‑Anon Family Groups.  Alateen is a fellowship of young Al-Anon members, usually teenagers, whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking.  Alateen groups are sponsored by Al-Anon members who help the group to stay on track.  Alateens come together to:

  • share experiences, strength, and hope with each other
  • discuss difficulties
  • learn effective ways to cope with problems
  • encourage one another
  • help each other understand the principles of the Al-Anon program

For more information: http://al-anon.org/how-will-alateen-help-me

NO MEETINGS IN OUR AREA

 

CoDA (Co-Dependents Anonymous)

Welcome to Co-Dependents Anonymous, a fellowship of men and women whose common purpose is to develop healthy relationships. The only requirement for membership is a desire for healthy and loving relationships.

http://locator.coda.org/

Local meetings— St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 200 Jefferson Ave. Endicott, NY, Sat 1:00 PM

GRIEF SUPPORT

The Compassionate Friends:

The mission of The Compassionate Friends: When a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope, and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family.

For more information: https://www.compassionatefriends.org/

The local chapter: http://tcfbc.homestead.com/Welcome.html

Broome County Chapter

918 East Front Street
Owego New York 13827
United States
Email: JTL7899@yahoo.com
Phone Contact: Pam: (607)-239-4222
Group meetings are held on the first Monday of the month (if that day is a holiday, the meeting will meet on the second Monday). Monday’s meeting time is from 7 PM ~ 9 PM.
 
Group meetings are also held on the third or fourth Saturday of the month. Check the calendar below to be sure about the day. Saturday’s meeting time is 10 AM ~ 12 PM.
 
All group meetings are held at the Nimmonsburg United Methodist Church, 918 Upper Front Street (across from BCC) Binghamton, NY  13901

Online, Facebook and Phone Group Meetings

Parents who have lost a child: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1515193738693712/

Siblings who have lost a sibling: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1516508415263760/

Parents who have lost a child: https://www.facebook.com/groups/grasphelp/

http://www.naranon.com/board/viewforum.php?f=1

http://www.al-anon.org/electronic-meetings

http://www.phonemeetings.org

http://stepchat.com/alanon.htm

http://www.familiesanonymous.org/index.php?route=information/information&information_id=32

http://www.intherooms.com— In The Rooms is the premier online social network for the Recovery community worldwide. Our mantra is H.I.T.C.H and our mission is to Help, Inform, Touch, Connect, and Heal those in Recovery, seeking Recovery and support for their family and friends.

HOPE OVER DOPE –  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1528325370809326/

Hope vs Dope – https://www.facebook.com/groups/hopevsdope/

Addicts Fighting Addiction –  https://www.facebook.com/groups/AddictsFightingAddiction/

Addiction Really –  https://www.facebook.com/groups/addictionreally/

 

Al Anon Speaker Recordings:

http://www.xa-speakers.org/pafiledb…?

http://storiesofrecovery.org/AAnony…

http://recoveryspeakers.com/categor…


 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

SE Fighting Back – a Branch of Truth Pharm

SE Fighting Back is a community-based volunteer group dedicated to responding to the heroin and opioid addiction problem in the Sherburne-Earlville School District communities including Sherburne, North Norwich, Smyrna, and Columbus townships in Chenango County and Lebanon and Hamilton townships in Madison County.  Since its formation, SE Fighting Back has become a subsidiary of Truth Pharm, a nonprofit addiction awareness organization in the Southern Tier, to take advantage of Truth Pharm’s resources and knowledge of the issues surrounding the heroin and opioid crisis.

SE Fighting Back Goals
– To raise awareness and educate the public

– To promote prevention, harm reduction and recovery in the S-E communities

2016 Events and Activities Accomplished by SE Fighting Back:

Community Resource/Needs Assessment

Naloxone Trainings

June 16 in Sherburne

October 18 in Smyrna

Forums

April 1 in partnership with SE High School – Assembly for students with impact panel
May 23 in Sherburne – Public awareness event with impact panel

June 21 in Sherburne – In-depth education night including round table discussions

“To Love an Addict” Support Group Initiated – Locations in Norwich and Sherburne on the 2nd and 4th of each month

1st Responder Resource Card – Created for Chenango County and distributed to police, ambulance and fire organizations

Discussions with Mayor Acee of Sherburne and Chenango County Sheriff Cutting to promote formation of a countywide PAARI program.

Provide support to individuals in Chenango County seeking help for themselves or a loved one.

2017 Events and Activities Potentially to Include:
Additional Naloxone Trainings

Community awareness/ education forum(s)

Prescription drug “take-back” day

1st Responder resource card for Madison County
Event in partnership with SE Central School to raise awareness and promote prevention

Initiate Recovery Coach resources for the community by sponsoring individuals to take training

Develop countywide PAARI program in Chenango County
Continued support for individuals seeking rehab and/or integrating back into the community

For More Information find us on Facebook at facebook.com/SEFIGHTINGBACK or email sefightingback@gmail.com. Information about Truth Pharm can be found at truthpharm.org or by emailing truthpharm@gmail.com.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

2016 – A Year of Rainmaking!

So, “what,” you ask “does a Rainmaker do?”

What does Truth Pharm do?

Well, Rainmakers are change-makers, game-changers, powerhouses, people who refuse to accept no for an answer. They are optimistic, driven and produce results. Despite current negative conditions, they work to overcome. When a challenging problem exists with no apparent or clear solution – a Rainmaker will find and create solutions! They will take action.

That’s a Rainmaker – and that is what Truth Pharm is made up of. People who will create change and WILL have an impact on this epidemic.

Per our mission:  Truth Pharm works to raise awareness, reduce the stigma, educate the public and advocate for policy and law changes surrounding substance use and treatment.

And here is a summary of how we went about creating change in 2016!

Awareness and Outreach Events:

  • Hosts for Hancock Awareness Event – 2/11/16 – 70 attendees
  • Guest Speaker for Bainbridge Guilford Afton Awareness event hosted by Lourdes and Senator Akshar 3/9/16 – 350 attendees
  • Tabled at Children’s Wyoming Conference Home Event Binghamton NY – 3/10/16
  • Mind and Magic 3/11/16 – 40 attendees
  • Tabled at The Forks 15 Run Chenango Forks NY – 3/20/16
  • Hosted Walton Awareness Event – 4/13/16 – 140 attendees
  • 1st Annual Jamison Turkow Memorial Walk – 5/7/16 – 300 attendees
  • Hosted Awareness Event Sherburne Earlville – 5/23/16 – 150 attendees
  • Free Hugs Event – 8/5/16 – contact with over 300 people
  • Trail of Truth – International Overdose Awareness Day Walk – 8/31/16 – 350 attendees
  • Illuminating Truth – First Friday Art Walk – street painting, recovery awareness, community resources, recovery celebration, building projection during LUMA – 9/2/16 – 400 attendees
  • Trail of Truth Redo due to county removing our memorial – 9/7/16 – 80 attendees
  • Tabled at Clinton Street Business Fair Binghamton NY – 9/10/16
  • Tabled at Apple Fest Endicott NY – 9/17/16
  • Tabled at Mural Fest Binghamton NY – 9/17/17
  • Presented to Jenny F. Snapp PATS committee regarding parent education Truth Pharm could provide – 10/4/16 – 25 attendees
  • Trunk or Treat – family trick or treating and Awareness event – 10/15/16 – 150 attendees
  • Tabled at 5th Annual Chocolate Festival by Addictions Center of Broome County – 11/6/16
  • Alexis Pleus served on panel of speakers for Roosevelt Institute at Binghamton University to unveil the Binghamton Blueprint – 11/14/16
  • Tabled at the Thankful Jam – 11/22/16
  • Alexis Pleus spoke at New York State SEFA Luncheon about Truth Pharm and the Epidemic – 12/1/16 – 35 attendees
  • Total 2390 attendees reached through awareness events + countless individuals at tabling events

 

Education:

  • Provided 4 hour PAARI Angel Training Oxford, NY – 2/27/16 – 45 attendees
  • Hancock NY – Understanding Signs, Symptoms and Behaviors of Substance Use Disorders – 3/10/16 – 45 attendees
  • Alexis Pleus Keynote speaker at Genesee County Victims Week Conference 4/12/16 – 200 attendees
  • Developing empathy and understanding for people suffering from Substance Use Disorders, Otego, NY – 4/19/16 – 15 attendees
  • Walton NY – Roundtable event – 5/25/16 – 30 attendees
  • Sherburne Earlville NY – Roundtable event – 6/21/16 – 25 attendees
  • Garden of Hope – Monthly education meetings for families – May-Dec. 2016 – 20-50 attendees each event
  • Alexis Pleus speaker for District Attorney’s SAFE Families Program – 8/11/16 – 50 attendees
  • Alexis Pleus speaker for Oxford Community Conversations on Drugs and Use in the Community – 10/20/16 – 50 attendees
  • Hosted John Barry of Southern Tier AIDS Program (STAP) to discuss Safe Injection Sites – 11/17/16 – 35 attendees
  • Total 640 attendees provided in-depth education.

 

Naloxone Training:

  • Hancock NY (STAP) – 2/17/16 – 45 attendees
  • Otego NY (STAP) – 4/19/16 – 15 attendees
  • Walton NY (STAP) – 4/20/16 – 35 attendees
  • Turkow Walk (STAP) – 5/7/16 – 15 referrals to training
  • Binghamton NY (STAP) – 5/26/16 – 25 attendees
  • Walton NY (STAP) – 6/1/16 – 20 attendees
  • Sherburne Earlville NY (STAP) 6/16/16 – 20 attendees
  • 20 families referred directly to STAP for training
  • Total 200 people trained on Naloxone use
  • 9 overdose reversals, 9 lives have been saved using Naloxone kits obtained through sessions hosted by Truth Pharm

School Events:

  • High school assembly in Hancock NY 8th – 12th graders – 5/13/16 – 150 students
  • High school assembly in Oxford NY 9th – 12th graders – 5/18/16 – 150 students
  • High School Assembly in Oxford NY 9th-12th graders – 12/23/16 – 80 students
  • Total 380 school students educated

Community Response Action Plans:

  • Hancock NY – Results: 3 events hosted, a open recreation time for youth created, counselling offered by local pastor – January – March 2016
  • Walton NY – Results: 4 events hosted, a family support group formed, police carrying Naloxone, Police Chief and Mayor developing programs for the county for Substance Use Recovery Supports – March – May 2016
  • Sherburne Earlville NY – Results: 3 events hosted, local company to host corporate education, a family support group created, a lasting branch of Truth Pharm created, Mayor writes letter of support to County for PAARI Program, Police support addition of prescription drop box and sharps disposal in the village – April–June 2016
  • Delhi NY – Results: 2 community events hosted – July–Oct. 2016
  • Total of 4 communities in 3 counties empowered, educated and with long-lasting impacts

National/Federal Involvement:

  • Teleconference with Michael Boticelli – 2/2/16
  • Placed on Facing Addiction Action Committee – (monthly meetings) Feb 2016
  • Attended Hill Day June 2016
  • Alexis Pleus attended “Addiction, a White House Discussion”, White House, DC – 6/7/16
  • Alexis Pleus invited to SAMHSA to provide input on materials to be produced for families who have lost a loved one – 10/27/16

Police & Criminal Justice Outreach:

  • Laid the ground work for Broome County Sheriff’s Office to start a local PAARI Program – 2015
  • Provided program outline for treatment and Vivitrol program at Broome County Jail – 2015
  • Collaborated with Oxford Police to create Oxford Road to Recovery Program, provided volunteer training, host Facebook page, assist with placements, rides and troubleshooting program – Feb.-Dec. 2016 – Placed 28 people in treatment in 2016
  • Assisted District Attorney Cornwell’s SAFE Program Feb.-April 2016
  • Meet with Chenango County to discuss Oxford, NY program – 3/17/16
  • Met with Walton NY Police to discuss carrying naloxone and reducing stigma – 4/5/17
  • Met with Sherburne Earlville Village Police to discuss naloxone and reducing stigma – 7/7/16
  • Met with Binghamton Drug Court, Judge Pellela – 7/22/16
  • Presentation for Penn Yan Heroin Task force on PAARI programs and how to create one in their community – 10/26/16
  • Met with Chenango County Sheriff’s Office to explore options to institute a PAARI Program – 11/15/16

Jail/Incarceration Outreach:

  • Visited two people in Broome County jail to discuss their future and desire to obtain treatment.
  • Assisted three families in advocating for their loved ones while incarcerated at Broome County Jail to be evaluated and then transferred directly to treatment at Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services.
  • Assisted three people and their families to seek and obtain placement in Drug Court to reduce incarceration.
  • Assisted several families to successfully advocate or their loved ones to be place in treatment instead of jail.

Obtaining Treatment, System Navigation, Family Awareness and Education:

  • Assisted more than 50 people in navigating the treatment system and to obtain treatment. Paid for many flights, months of sober living, treatment fees, bus tickets, etc.
  • Assisted more than 200 families through direct contact in understanding their loved ones’ substance use disorder, how to communicate with them and now to navigate the system to obtain help or treatment.

Corporate Education:

  • Provided Employee sensitivity and awareness training for VOA Men’s home – 3/2/16
  • Provided employee sensitivity and awareness training for Sidney Federal Credit Union – 5/17/16
  • Met with Frontier Communications to educate them on the epidemic and what they can do as an employer – 9/21/16

Collaboration Projects:

  • Assisted District Attorney Cornwell’s SAFE Program Feb.-April 2016
  • Seat on Tioga County Community Task Force for Addiction Epidemic (monthly meetings)– 2016
  • Senator Akshar’s Heroin Task Force (quarterly meetings) – 2016
  • Joined JUST – Justice and Unity in the Southern Tier (monthly meetings) – May-Dec. 2016
  • Participated in forum hosted by Assemblyman Al Stirpe to discuss resources to address Substance Use Disorders in NY – 9/22/16

Media:

  • Interview on WIX Radio – 2/3/16
  • Interview with WICZ 2/4/16, 2/22/16, 3/21/16, 8/9/16
  • Participated in WSKG Community Conversation on Opioid Epidemic 2/9/16
  • Kingfisher Project Radio Interview 2/15/16
  • Press & Sun Bulletin Interview 2/16/16, 3/30/16, 7/19/16, 7/28/16
  • WNBF with Roger Neal 3/3/16
  • The Guardian, Chris Arnade – 3/13/16
  • Alexis Pleus has article published in The Fix 2/17/16
  • Kingfisher Project 4/5/16, 5/2/16, 5/9/16, 5/16/16
  • WNBF with Bob Joseph – 8/12/16

Advocacy:

  • Invited to speak at NY Senate Heroin Task Force in Penn Yan – 2/23/16 – 150 attendees
  • Advocated in Albany, met with over 60 Assemblypersons and Senators on a total of 13 visits between February and June 2016
  • Spoke at Governor Cuomo’s Heroin Task Force event at Binghamton University – 5/31/16 – 60 attendees
  • Attended Broome County Legislature meetings to advocate for appropriate spending for opioid epidemic – 10/13/16
  • Met with City of Binghamton to explore ways they can help with the epidemic – 11/9/16

Training:

  • Attended Rotary Luncheon with Jill Halford-Hammit as speaker 2/23/16
  • How communities can work together Webinar – 3/23/16
  • NYCON Board member training Webinar – 3/24/16
  • 8 hour training course – Core Principles Substance Use Treatment – Broome County – 3/30/16
  • NYCON marketing Webinar – 4/21/16
  • All about AA support – ATTC Webinar – 4/21/16
  • Obtained Certification as Naloxone Trainer NY Health Dept. at Tioga County – 4/25/16
  • SAMHSA Chronic Pain Management Webinar – 4/26/16
  • SAMHSA webinar – 4/27/16
  • NYCON Webinar – 4/28/16
  • Attended SAMHSA Hill Day – 6/6-6/7/16
  • Attended Medical Assisted Treatment Training – Broome Co. Drug Court – 8/10/16
  • Mental Health First Aid training – MHAST – 9/20/16
  • Attended Media Summit training for nonprofits by RVSA – 9/23/16
  • Attended NYCON Camp Finance on scholarship – 10/6-10/7/16
  • Attended the Harm Reduction Conference on scholarship 11/2-11/6/16
  • Attended the unveiling of the Surgeon General’s Report on Addiction hosted by Facing Addiction 11/17/16
  • Attended Integrative Harm Reduction Therapy – 24 hour training by Andrew Tatarsky – 12/2-12/4/16

Grants & Fundraising:

  • Applied for $5k for Constitution Pipeline Grant for Naloxone outreach to EMS agencies – awarded $2k for purchase of kits only
  • Applied for $5k for Community Foundation of South Central NY Grant for Tioga County Community Response Action Plans – awarded $2,500
  • A total of $31,910 raised through fundraising events and individual donations
  • Total Year Budget = $36,410.

*2016 was the first year of our 501c3. Since we did not have nonprofit status in 2015, no fundraisers were hosted, no donations were accepted or EVER collected. ALL efforts in 2015 were financially supported and provided by Founder and Director Alexis Pleus.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

How to Offer Support to Grieving Families

As we are waking up to this news of another overdose death, can I please offer some advice?

First, most families will not want to discuss the intricate details of ‘what happened’ though most people seem obsessed or even entitled to know. The families in these early stages are still trying to process and believe ‘what happened’. It’s not your business to ask them. Though if they choose to talk about it, or want to, if you can handle it, let them.

500 messages asking “What happened” is awful and not helpful. Though, 500 messages of how sorry you are, or how wonderful your child is may save your life. Acronyms have never felt more offensive than they did getting them within minutes and hours of getting the news about Jeff. OMG and WTF messages were very upsetting to me. If you message the family member and they don’t respond, whatever you do, do not hound them for a reply. I literally had people doing this to me – demanding to be told what happened or to whom.

If you by some chance learn of the information early on. Remember, it is not for you to share with the world until the family has done so. Most of my family found out because someone posted RIP on my son’s wall before I was even notified of his death. In fact, before his body was even removed from his apartment. His brothers, father and best friends all learned of his passing from a facebook post. It’s NOT your news to share. Wait until the family posts before you post a name or information on social media.

If you don’t know what to say, the best thing to say is, I’m sorry or, I’m here for you. Or, I’ll listen to anything you have to say.

The most comforting thing is to hear about your child. Tell us a story, tell us something they did. Tell us why you’ll miss them. Tell us what you’ll miss about them. Tell us the last happy time you saw them.

Saying, “if there’s anything I can do, call me” is not helpful at all. Immediate family members in severe shock and grief have no idea what to ask people to do and can’t orchestrate volunteers and phone calls. If you want to help them, just find a way. I’ll never forget friends of our family showing up to clean my house and mow my lawn. People brought us food all week and thank god because I never would have been able to make a meal. A friend made flower arrangements to put on the tables at Jeff’s picnic… Another friend stepped in and orchestrated his picnic, many others people worked at his picnic all day and two stayed behind and managed all the clean up. Someone even showed up and brought a huge pack of toilet paper and tissues. I don’t even remember who, but it was incredibly thoughtful and believe me, I wouldn’t have thought to go to a store for anything. These were the gestures that helped us survive the first two weeks. I don’t know what we would have done without this kind of help.

And just going and sitting with them and letting them reminisce is helpful.

The following phrases are not comforting for most people: God has a plan, God must have needed him more, his struggles are over, time heals, it will get better with time, he’s at peace now… at least they were not helpful for me. Whatever you do, don’t compare the loss of a child to a pet… or even a parent… it’s really not the same, only similar.

And absolutely NOTHING about their cause of death, other than ‘you’re sorry’.

And don’t forget the children of, siblings, grandparents and close friends. They need comforting too. It meant a great deal to me to see my youngest son’s friends coming to spend time with him, taking him for a walk, fishing, whatever. He needed that too. And I know I was incapable of comforting my mom, so if I saw someone sitting with her and talking to her, that truly helped me.

I think everyone has good intentions, but it gets tiresome for someone who has just experienced the unimaginable to have to make that excuse for others over and over. Since it probably IS true that everyone has good intentions, it’s good to just try and align those with what is truly helpful.

And keep checking on them… for months… years…

Much love, Alexis Pleus mom of Jeff Dugon forever 28.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail