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. 
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