When NYS’s OASAS agency oversaturates struggling communities with opioid treatment programs it justifies this by looking at addiction rates. What OASAS fails to acknowledge or admit to local community boards and politicians, is that they’ve already oversaturated struggling communities, and want to add more capacity to avoid the more difficult process of equitably locating programs in unserved wealthier neighborhoods.
It’s strange to think of wealthy and white communities as underserved, but the pattern of locating addiction programs in Black and Brown communities, does just that – it keeps addiction programs out of wealthier and whiter neighborhoods.
In the end, is OASAS servicing a need or are they helping to keep struggling communities struggling?
East Harlem business owners and East Harlem residents see that over-concentration brings illegal drugs to our streets and increases crime and reduces our quality of life. Systemic racism as practiced by OASAS, maintains an economic and public safety status quo that benefits underserved wealthy and whiter New York Neighborhoods.
Chocolate from the Harlem Chocolate Factory
A brownstone shaped chocolate bar with food grade gold powder.
Wanted to let you know we’ve got a summer youth program we’re running through WHDC this summer, and applications close end of day Monday. If you know of any teens/ parents of teens in West Harlem (CD9) looking for a summer opportunity (with a stipend for all who completer the program), you can share the info below
This summer is our 5th ARISE! program. The program is 6 weeks (July 12- Aug 20th), for current 8th- 11th graders (rising freshman – rising senior). Students who are selected will receive a stipend for participating in the program. The program is hybrid; virtual Mon – Thurs. (academics/ civics), with Fridays being hosted in person by our outside community partners (entrepreneurship, gardening, basketball). We prioritize and focus on CD9 applicants for this program.
Many of us have speculated on how much money the clinics are paid for the treatment they provide.
NYS’s Office of Alcohol and Substance Use Services (OASAS) has an Excel spreadsheet that gives you a rough idea of what each component of care is worth to a provider. To use the spreadsheet, simply download the spreadsheet from the download link (below) and enter a number of patients or patient visits in the Service Volume column.
Note that the tabs on the bottom of the spreadsheet show you the reimbursement rates for upstate and downstate.
OTP stands for Opioid Treatment Program and is the kind of service provided in the Lee Building at 125/Park, and on West 124th Street between Lenox and ACP.
Recently I wanted to map out where people lived who commuted into East Harlem for opioid treatment (mostly methdone).
The resulting map, below, shows that pretty much all of New York City hops on the subway, takes busses or cabs, or even rides ferries, to get to our 2 zip codes (10035 and 10029) in order to get (daily, typically) their methadone treatment.
Note that the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (OASAS) does not release exact addresses of the men and women in treatment, but simply says that 12 people (for example) from zip code XXXXX were admitted to a given program.
With new data from a FOIL request to OASAS, we are able to contextualize the size/impact that Mount Sinai has on our community with their two major methadone hubs – West 124th Street, and East 125th Street (The Lee Building at Park Avenue).
Looking at the screenshot below, you can see how large Mount Sinai’s presence is in Harlem and East Harlem.
To see the entire city and the uneven distribution of Opioid Treatment Programs, see the map below:
With new data from a recent FOIL request that was submitted to the NYS Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) we wanted to map the inverse of what people typically map – the absence of something. In particular, we were interested in learning which Community Districts in New York don’t have any OASAS licensed Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs). The resulting map (below) shows (in red) the communities in New York that have no OTPs and whose residents who are suffering from addiction to opioids have to travel to communities like ours, for treatment.
The Greater Harlem Coalition has recently written to our elected officials to ask them to begin the work of enacting legislation that will stop and then reverse the oversaturation of drug treatment programs in our community:
The Bronx is Building
A new rental building has been proposed for the Bronx waterfront between the Madison Avenue Bridge and the 145th Street Bridge. This new 43 story tower will be located between the Deegan Expressway and the Harlem River.
CBS News had a great piece last night on how Harlem and East Harlem are oversaturated with substance abuse programs which has attracted unprecedented numbers of illegal drug sellers who prey on the men and women seeking treatment.
Harlem residents showed the CBS reporter evidence of illegal drug sales and use – all concentrated around unsupervised addiction programs that are supposed to help New Yorkers get off drugs.
The President of MMPIA, the co-founder of The Greater Harlem Coalition, and others all showed the reporter video evidence and presented him with the data from FOIL requests to backup their claim that New York is dumping programs in Harlem and East Harlem that they don’t locate in other whiter and wealthier communities.
When asked for a statement, the Mayor’s office gave a non statement, and failed to answer why Harlem and East Harlem have more than their fair share of substance abuse programs.
To see the full video:
25th Precinct Community Council Meeting Next Week
The next 25th Precinct Community Council meeting is scheduled for:
A neighbor wrote to Governor Cuomo and OASAS recently, asking for them to address how the illegal drug trade (which congregates around the nexus of OASAS licensed addiction programs in our community) is impacted by OASAS decisionmaking. Zoraida Diaz (the OASAS NYC District Director) replied with a refusal to acknowledge the impact of decades of OASAS’s decisions that have oversaturated our community. She and OASAS are hiding behind an “it’s complicated” defense, and refusing to meet or begin a conversation.
Here’s the letter:
Please call: 646.728.4760 and ask why OASAS is failing to take responsibility for the oversaturation of addiction programs in Harlem and East Harlem and how this oversaturation attracts the illegal drug trade to our streets.
Mayor Visits East Harlem
Patch has an article on Sunday’s unannounced visit by the mayor to East Harlem to see the rampant drug dealing and quality of life issues that plague East 125th Street.
The article notes that:
Neighbors have complained of open heroin use, garbage strewn across East 125th Street, and human waste littering the sidewalks. This week, the city closed the Dr. Ronald E. McNair Playground on Lexington between East 122nd and 123rd streets at Ayala’s request after consistent drug use in the park left it virtually off-limits to parents and children.