Posts Tagged ‘opioid’

Street Outreach Program Reboots the Former PRO Program in Ulster

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

In mid-December, we received an email from the Ulster County Department of Mental Health. They asked if we would be interested in signing on as a subcontractor on a grant from NACCHO: the National Association of City and County Health Officials. Specifically, they wanted to know if we would be up for reviving or rebooting our Mid-Hudson Project Reach Out (PRO) program to provide support and referrals to Ulster County residents with substance use disorder issues. We said yes, collaborated on a grant application, and were very pleased to learn that it was funded!

Street Outreach will offer many of the same services as PRO but is not van-based. Services include referrals to full spectrum addiction treatment (including in- and outpatient services and transportation to intake/admission appointment as needed), Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP), Syringe Exchange Program (SEP), Narcan training, HIV/HCV/STI testing counseling and navigation, case management, and food assistance.

Though we wish we could bring back PRO to the entire Mid-Hudson, we are thrilled to restore it to one county at least, and to have found a brand-new funding partner in Ulster County Department of Mental Health.

 

HHS Removes X-waiver, Expanding Medication-assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

Friday, January 15th, 2021

This opinion was published by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) on January 14, 2021. HVCS concurs and seconds this congratulatory statement.

 

Washington, D.C.—The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) applauds the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) decision to effectively remove the “X-waiver” requirement for physicians, expanding their ability to utilize medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for patients struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD).

“As emergency physicians, we see every day the devastating effects that the opioid crisis has had on the communities we serve—a crisis that has unfortunately only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mark Rosenberg, DO, MBA, FACEP, president of ACEP. “Buprenorphine is the most important medication in our arsenal for treating opioid use disorder, which is currently one of the most lethal diseases for Americans.”

In the decision announced on January 14, HHS issued an exemption to the X-waiver requirement for physicians registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who wish to prescribe buprenorphine and other MAT. While the new guidelines pertain to physicians who treat no more than 30 patients with buprenorphine for opioid use disorder at any one time, ACEP appreciates that the Department recognized the unique nature of emergency medicine and decided not to apply this limitation to hospital-based physicians, including emergency physicians.

The X-waiver presents a major obstacle to “legitimate” patient access to buprenorphine and other MAT. Before today’s announcement, physicians wishing to prescribe buprenorphine outside of opioid treatment programs had to take an eight-hour course and often waited 60 to 90 days to receive the waiver once the course is completed and the license application is submitted. The presence of this X-waiver requirement has also led to misperception about MAT and has increased negative pre-conceived notions about OUD and the treatment of this disease. As a result, some clinicians are hesitant to pursue this DEA license or even engage in treatment of patients with OUD.

Removing the X-waiver and reducing stigma to treating OUD in the emergency department has been a major priority for ACEP. In January 2020, the College hosted the Summit Addressing the Opioid Stigma in the Emergency Department—an event funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as part of its Opioid Response Network in which stakeholders identified strategies and behaviors to reduce practices that perpetuate stigma in the emergency department. ACEP also sent a letter to HHS to illustrate the challenges of the X-waiver and supported H.R. 2482, the “Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act of 2019,” which would eliminate the waiver requirement.

Added Dr. Rosenberg, “This is a great day for our patients. The X-waiver was an outdated and cumbersome barrier to treatment, and it exacerbated stigma for those struggling with opioid use disorder. Now, more than ever, we need compassion and action in treating patients with addiction.”

Syringe Exchange Expands Into Westchester

Monday, January 11th, 2021

Project Reach Out vanSince the 1980’s, HVCS has provided services throughout Westchester County to people who use drugs, including HIV, STD and Hepatitis C prevention and education, HIV and STD testing, linkage to substance use disorder treatment services, and, when possible, emergency food and supplies. Many of these specific services were provided by our Project Reach Out program (PRO), which travels to Westchester’s urban areas—places hit hardest by the double HIV and opioid epidemics.

We were just approved to offer what is called “second tier syringe exchange” services via our PRO staff. They will be able to provide access to syringes, recoupment of used syringes, Narcan trainings, referrals to treatment, and information about prevention services to people who use drugs (PWUD). This is a form of “peer-delivered” services, where staff are permitted to carry out exchanges wherever they are, without being fixed to a particular location like our other syringe exchange programs in Rockland and in the Mid-Hudson.

This is a significant enhancement to the PRO program and a boon to Westchester’s PWUD population. By being embedded in the community and gaining clients’ trust, we aim to refer even more people to substance use treatment facilities and other services than ever before.

HVCS’ ESAP Explainer Video (Expanded Syringe Access Program)

Monday, November 2nd, 2020

HVCS created this video for the New York State “End the Epidemic” campaign.

Advocate With Gov Cuomo for Harm Reduction Services

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

Overdose, Hepatitis C, and HIV rates are climbing in New York State.
Do you have one minute to advocate for harm reduction services for people who use drugs?

Call the Governor and advocate!

Governor Cuomo’s Office: 518-474-8390

Use this handy phone script:

“Hello,
My name is _____________ and I’m calling from (part of the state you’re calling from) to talk to Gov. Cuomo about the overdose crisis and COVID-19. The current pandemic has worsened the overdose crisis, putting people who use drugs at risk across our state. The programs that provide services to them are losing. People are being arrested for carrying syringes and lifesaving medication like buprenorphine. New York law that criminalizes syringe possession and buprenorphine goes against public health, and can cause sharing or reusing of syringes. This will lead to increases in HIV and Hepatitis C infection.

Due to the Department of Health’s syringe shortage and fiscal issues, we are in a more urgent situation than ever before. Syringe service programs across the state do not have needed supplies, meaning people are carrying equipment longer, putting them at risk of arrest. Not only will decriminalizing syringes reduce unnecessary arrests, it will also reduce the amount of syringes that get unsafely discarded in our communities. Lifting Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP) limits at pharmacies will ensure people have access to what they need.

Governor Cuomo can and must act now. We need him to decriminalize syringes and buprenorphine, lift ESAP limits at pharmacies, and stop withholding harm reduction funds. *Optional: add in related personal experience*
Thank you for your time.”

HVCS In The News: Recovery In The Age of COVID-19

Monday, September 21st, 2020

By Dalvin Aboagye

As published on River Newsroom:

 

Saving A Life in the Mid-Hudson

Friday, August 9th, 2019

Narcan overdose kitHVCS employees improve lives each and every day, and may of us feel we are saving lives by encouraging clients to make one healthier decision at a time. Yesterday, members of our team literally saved a life–with one bold decision.

Early in the afternoon, staff in one of our Mid-Hudson offices were notified that someone was unconscious in the parking lot. Jennifer (Director of Education & Prevention), Cameron (PRO Program Supervisor) , and Heather (SEP Prevention Specialist) rushed to assess the situation. An employee from another agency in the building had brought down a Narcan kit but didn’t know if the unconscious individual needed it. Heather quickly checked the person for responsiveness by performing a sternum rub. Since there was no response, Heather administered Narcan. After one dose, the individual started to respond. Police and EMTs arrived and took the person to the hospital.

Heather, thank you for your quick thinking and action. You truly shined, and you’ve made all of us at HVCS very proud. And thanks to Cameron and Jennifer for your support and depth of knowledge too!

Narcan Training For Pleasantville Strong

Friday, May 10th, 2019

On Thursday, May 9, 2019, Hudson Valley Community Services joined forces with Pleasantville Strong and several community leaders to offer a free training and certification on how to use Narcan, the opioid overdose reversal drug. Pleasantville Strong organized the event at the Mt. Pleasant Community Center in Valhalla, and forty concerned citizens attended. Melissa Shippy, a Senior Program Supervisor here at HVCS, provided the training, and Andrea Parada, Foundation Grants & Fundraising Manager, represented the agency. Speakers included Mt. Pleasant Judge Robert Ponzini, Councilwoman Laura Rogersmalley and Town Police Chief Paul Oliva.

Press from HVCS’ International Overdose Awareness Day Event

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018
HVCS' Overdose Awareness Day

Devan Marano shares her personal story at the Overdose Awareness Day observance in Newburgh.

On Friday, August 31, 2018, Hudson Valley Community Services partnered with Catholic Charities’ TEAM Newburgh to hold a local observance of International Overdose Awareness Day in front of HVCS’ Newburgh office.

International Overdose Awareness Day is an annual global event held on August 31st which aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. International Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable.

The opioid/heroin addiction crisis has had a profound impact on the Hudson Valley over the past few years. In 2016, 367 residents died from opioid overdoses according to the New York State Heroin and Opioid Task Force, and available data on the first three quarters of 2017 suggests similar totals for last year. The epidemic has had a lasting impact on friends, families and neighborhoods—not to mention those who struggle with addiction. HVCS, other healthcare and social support agencies, law enforcement, and local governments have committed resources to prevent overdose deaths, increase the number of residents who seek help for their addiction disorders, and stem the tide of this epidemic. This event was an opportunity to honor and remember those we have lost to addiction disorders via overdose, and continue to educate the community on available resources.

The Hudson Valley’s International Overdose Awareness Day event featured a forum for personal experience speakers, Narcan trainings, educational opportunities, tributes to those lost to overdose, a social media awareness wall, activities to engage children and youth, and free snacks.

Check out local press coverage of the event:

Spectrum News: http://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/hudson-valley/news/2018/08/31/overdose-awareness-day-hudson-valley

Times Herald Record: Story (http://www.recordonline.com/news/20180831/overdose-survivors-impart-lifesaving-training) and slide show (http://www.recordonline.com/photogallery/TH/20180831/PHOTOGALLERY/831009999/PH/1)

HVCS’ Frank Barone To Speak At Sullivan Co Opioid Abuse Conference

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

HVCS’ Frank Barone, a member of our Syringe Exchange Program staff, will be on the panel at the upcoming 2018 Sullivan County Opioid Abuse Prevention Conference at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on Wednesday, October 3, 2018. Frank is one of the featured local speakers and his segment is entitled, “I Was Twelve: My Story of the Road to Recovery.”

Get all the details and register for the conference here.