Friday, December 23, 2016

'The House of Justice' to Conduct Annual Christmas Eve Toy Giveaway and Feeding of the Homeless

Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of National Action Network (NAN), high-level elected officials and community activists will take part in NAN's annual Christmas Eve children's toy giveaway and feeding of the homeless.

The event will be held at "The House of Justice", 106 West 145th Street and Lenox Avenue.

The weekly radio broadcast and action rally will take place as usual from 9-11 a.m., including Rev. Sharpton’s regular address at 10 a.m.

You can watch the livestream at or listen live on WLIB 1190 AM.  

Source: Mercury

Senator Diaz Welcomes Participation in Christmas Eve Humanitarian Relief Effort

Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) welcomes individuals, community organizations and companies to participate in the  “Christmas Eve Humanitarian Relief Effort” to help flood victims in the Dominican Republic. 

The drive will be conducted on December 24 from 12 to 4 p.m. on Southern Boulevard and Aldus Street in Bronx County.
Organizers for the "Christmas Eve Humanitarian Relief Effort" hope to receive donations of non-perishable food, clothing, medical supplies and financial contribution to send to flood victims in the Dominican Republic.
This effort has been coordinated by Senator Rev Ruben Diaz, the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, Radio Vision Cristiana International, the Dominican Republic Presidential Liaison Committee for USA Ministers presided by Bishop Nicolas Angustia, Livery Taxi Industry Committee, Salcedo Cargo Express, Super Canal Caribe Television, Radio Cantico Nuevo, Inc., NYPD 41st Precinct, and elected officials.

Contact Rev Samaris Gross at (347) 613-1491 for additional information. 

Cuomo, Correctional Officers and PBA Announce Tentative Contract Agreement

Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association President Michael Powers today announced a tentative contract agreement between the State and the labor union representing over 20,000 employees in the Security Services Unit that provide for the safety and security of correctional facilities, mental hygiene facilities and many other State agencies. 

"This agreement fairly compensates the hardworking men and women who help keep our facilities safe, while at the same time provides the State the ability to appropriately discipline those that engage in the most serious misconduct," said Governor Cuomo. "These new reforms will ensure the highest standards of professionalism are upheld and I thank Michael Powers for his leadership in reaching this agreement on behalf of his members."

Michael Powers, President of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, said: “We are pleased with the agreement NYSCOPBA has reached with State of New York, securing a fair and equitable five year contract for our 20,000 members. The men and women of NYSCOPBA work under some of the most dangerous conditions, and play a vital role in the law enforcement community that makes New York one of the safest states in the nation. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for his continued support and leadership in recognizing that our members carry themselves with professionalism and integrity."

The agreement provides for a 2 percent wage increase for 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, recurring health insurance savings, recurring overtime savings and reforms to the discipline process.

In addition to the wage increases above, highlights of the tentative agreement, which will require ratification by the full NYSCOPBA membership, include:  

Health insurance design changes resulting in cost savings to the State of approximately $35 million over the term of the agreement. This includes medical and prescription drug co-payment changes, resulting in reduced premium charges for employee

Overtime savings of approximately $35 million over the term of the agreement 

A redesigned discipline process that includes a new tripartite panel to hear abuse and neglect cases involving inmates and wards of the State, and table of penalties covering serious misconduct 

A joint workers compensation committee to review and evaluate the workers compensation process and improve administration of claims 

Compensation enhancements based on location of work and hazardous duties similar to other bargaining units 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

New Initiative Will Connect More New Yorkers to Addiction Services

On December 21, the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (NYS OASAS) today announced more than $190,000 in funding was awarded to two NYS OASAS-certified addiction treatment providers, Odyssey House and Mount Sinai Behavioral Health System, to support a new peer engagement specialist initiative in East Harlem in New York City. The program, developed by NYS OASAS, is part of Governor Cuomo’s multi-pronged approach to aggressively address substance use disorders in the state. This collaborative effort will focus on reducing street drug use, lowering potential for overdoses and other drug-related emergencies, and addressing community concerns about drug abuse, including use of synthetics, heroin and opioids, with a focus in East Harlem.

“A reversal from an overdose is a second chance,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, co-chair of Governor Cuomo’s Combat Heroin and Prescription Opioid Addiction Task Force. “That moment when a person with a substance use disorder is in crisis is an opportune time for us to step in to make sure that that individual is connected to the addiction treatments services he or she needs. This program will help those connections happen in East Harlem.”

Peer engagement specialists, who are knowledgeable about the alcohol and substance use disorder treatment system, will work with Emergency Department (ED) personnel in the hospitals serving the area to help establish connections to addiction treatment and other supports after an opioid overdose reversal or after discharge from another substance use-related ED visit. The two peer engagement specialists, one from each substance use disorder treatment program, also will conduct outreach to connect individuals in 125th Street Corridor with addiction treatment services and mental health and other support services. They will also lead community education events about addiction.

“Connection to addiction-focused care is always critical, but is particularly so after an alcohol or drug-related crisis,” said NYS OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “Connecting a person to treatment after an overdose reversal is crucial to getting them started on the path to recovery, and can help prevent relapse and lower the risk for a potential subsequent overdose. These peer professionals can be the warm hand that individuals need to guide them into treatment, so that they can get the help they need and hopefully join the millions of Americans who are living a healthy life in recovery.”

The peer engagement specialists will provide outreach to vulnerable individuals in East Harlem, focusing on the area between 96th and 138th Streets from 5th Avenue East. Their main tasks will be referring individuals for substance use disorder treatment, providing information regarding addiction to individuals, and assisting individuals with accessing treatment. The PESs will also connect with Emergency Departments, community based organizations, soup kitchens, religious centers, and neighborhood health care and addiction treatment providers. They will also conduct presentations to help increase local knowledge about substance use disorder treatment and support services that are available in the community. They will also track referrals to treatment and support services, and collect other pertinent data to assess the efficacy of the project. NYS OASAS will oversee the initiative.

Peter Provet, President of Odyssey House, said, “When a community works together to fight drug abuse, individual lives are saved and everyone’s lives are improved. Local partners armed with local knowledge who share a commitment to the neighborhood they live and work in are an essential part of the glue that keeps families together, the streets safe, and businesses and neighborhoods thriving. I am proud to partner with NYS OASAS and Mount Sinai Behavioral Health System on this essential street outreach initiative that extends awareness of treatment services to people in need throughout East Harlem. The peer engagement specialists who will lead this effort understand the importance of reaching people before they overdose because, even with the increased prevalence of naloxone (the opioid reversal medication), emergency services, treatment providers, and hospital detox centers, cannot reach everyone in time to avoid a tragic death. This initiative is a big step forward in protecting the health of New Yorkers struggling with addiction.”

“Mount Sinai is proud to partner with OASAS and Odyssey House in this important initiative,” said Sabina Lim, MD, MPH, Vice President and Chief of Strategy, Behavioral Health, Mount Sinai Health System. “Peer professionals have a critical and invaluable role in the path to recovery for people with substance use disorders. They provide meaningful and proactive connections for people with substance use disorders at a critical time. Effective intervention when the potential for change may be at its greatest will help improve access and continuity of care to treatment and support services. We look forward to working more closely with our partners, to help make a substantive impact in the lives of people with substance use disorders in the communities we serve.”

"The peer engagement specialist initiative is an important step towards combating the substance use disorders that are becoming all too common,” said New York State Senator José M. Serrano. “This important program will allow drug prevention and recovery resources to be readily available, help these individuals remain on a healthy track, and educate the community on the dangers of drug addiction. Many thanks to the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services for recognizing the seriousness of this issue, and providing a crucial step to recovery."

“The OASAS Peer Engagement program represents the type of creative and effective effort necessary to address the challenges created by street drug use,” Assemblymember Robert J. Rodriguez. “This important initiative will help connect those in need with the services necessary to get them into recovery and reduce the number of overdoses on our streets. I am proud to have been an integral part in securing the support necessary to see this program come to fruition. I salute and congratulate Commissioner Sanchez and the staff of OASAS on the program launch today.” 

“Substance abuse has become a crisis throughout the country, and addiction prevention services are some of the most vital programs we can offer in the fight to stave off this public health epidemic,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Drug-related emergencies affect our communities and fill our medical centers at an unsustainable rate, and by meeting them at their level by providing peer engagement specialists both in the hospital and on the ground, we can work to ensure that outreach is targeted to the places where it will be most effective. This is a problem that has been felt in El Barrio/East Harlem and around the city, and I applaud OASAS for collaborating with residents to solve this critical issue.” 

Source: Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services