Have you ever found yourself wishing there were more Suboxone prescribers in our area? Ever wonder why you can’t just go to your regular doctor to obtain addiction treatment? Well, there is a way! You can help us increase the amount of providers we have in our area by contacting your own doctor!
Truth Pharm Board Member, Theresa Baxter, a Nurse Practitioner who is passionate about access to Medical Assisted Treatment has drafted a letter and phone call script for your use in promoting a free waiver training coming up in Broome County open to all New York State physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and medical residents so that they can become part of the SOLUTION to the epidemic by becoming a Suboxone prescriber. Having addiction treatment available at your family physician’s officer will reduce stigma, increase successful outcomes and mainstream treatment and there is no excuse for any doctor to refuse to become certified.
Here is a letter you can copy and paste into a word document or email and personalize from yourself:
City, ST ZIP Code
[INSERT YOUR CARE PROVIDERS NAME WITH PROPER TITLE]
City, ST ZIP Code
Dear [INSERT YOUR CARE PROVIDERS NAME WITH PROPER TITLE]:
As one of your patients, I wanted to be sure you were aware the NYSDOH AIDS Institute is hosting a Free Buprenorphine Waiver Eligibility Training for Clinical Providers (Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Medical Residents) on Saturday, December 9th, 2017 from 8:00AM to 1:00PM at the Broome County Health Dept., 225 Front Street, Conference Room, Binghamton, NY 13905.
As a physician [or Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant] I imagine that you currently care for patients with opioid use disorder/addiction, which nationally is a public health emergency. More than 64,000 people died in this country in 2016 from a drug overdose. You take great care of a wide range of medical conditions, this would be another service for you to offer to your current patients. This would also enable them to receive more of their care with a single provider of whom they already have a relationship with, furthering the opportunity for better health outcomes.
There aren’t enough clinicians who can prescribe buprenorphine, which is shameful since every provider with a DEA license can and likely has prescribed opioid pain medication to their patients. Unfortunately, that’s how many people start their addiction – with prescription opioids.
When patients are able to receive Buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder from their primary care provider it can decrease stigma and increase the chances for sustained recovery.
This is especially important to me because [INSERT PERSONAL STORY IF YOU CARE TO, OR DELETE THIS SECTION].
It’s a very educational course, free of charge, and easily accessible. Please consider this free of charge opportunity to help more people.
Your loyal patient
After mailing your letter, we suggest you call your provider to follow up. If they are not interested in prescribing and helping with this solution, as their patient, you might want to know why:
Hello Dr. XXX or NP, or PA,
I’m one of your patients, and I wanted to be sure you received the letter I sent that included a flyer announcing a free buprenorphine waiver training course for clinical providers.
Did you have a chance to review it?
Ok, Can I tell you about it real quick? It’s free(!), very educational, and they’re serving refreshments.
Then can read the letter or paraphrase it………
Does this sound like something you and your colleagues can attend? It’s important to your patients, and it’s important to me personally because………..
Thank you so much for considering this. It could mean so much to so many people. Please let me know if you will attend or not. I’ll follow up after the training.
Here is a link to the flyer for the training event: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwbX8JuE_ng1d0RCTjc1bDNCWENlQU9zbmFIdVVZU2RlVkdN
Here is a link to directions: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwbX8JuE_ng1VzNwZ3hXWTdUU2ZSb0Zic1ZLMlcwcm1Oc19j
Here is a link to an email with pertinent information: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1a2xy2RoRsZSw5dGgKyph8Rkla0r1AXi-
Dear Commissioner Sanchez,
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
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.
Founder and Executive Director
cc: Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, NYS Commissioner of Health Howard Zucker
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
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.
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.
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:
Community Response Action Plans:
Police & Criminal Justice Outreach:
Obtaining Treatment, System Navigation, Family Awareness and Education:
Grants & Fundraising:
*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.