East Harlem has many commonalities with the South Bronx in terms of population, history, infrastructure, and governmental relations.
A map of the density of opioid treatment programs (as licensed by OASAS) shows the clear linkage.
Note how CB11 (East Harlem) has the largest opioid capacity in New York City. OASAS has packed programs in East Harlem repeatedly and forced East Harlem to serve addicted New Yorkers who reside in the gray areas on the map.
To view an interactive version of the map (hover over a community district to learn the opioid capacity and district number), see below:
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:
Our latest data from a 2019/2020 FOIL request to OASAS has yielded this map of the location of Opioid Treatment Programs in the 5 boroughs and their admission totals:
Zooming into our neighborhood you can see how OASAS has oversaturated Harlem and East Harlem as well as the South Bronx:
Franciscan Handmaids of Mary Motherhouse Building to be Developed
Gotham To Go is reporting that 15 West 124th Street (the building to the west of the library) sold on February 11, 2019 for $9,400,000 to Harlem LLC. This building, the former Franciscan Handmaids home, will be redeveloped as housing overlooking Marcus Garvey Park.
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.
The oversaturation of substance use programs in Harlem and East Harlem has been proven repeatedly. Our community hosts many more programs than are justified by our population, by our addiction rates, or even by drug-related death rates.
One question remains, where do patients who are admitted to New York City substance abuse programs come from?
Using data from a 2020 FOIL request to OASAS on admission data, I have mapped where patients who attend NYC’s substance abuse programs come from. The result is fascinatingly national. From San Diego to Maine, from Miami Beach to Anchorage Alaska, men and women are admitted to New York addiction programs.
In the maps below, the red dots indicate the homes of people who are admitted to New York City’s substance abuse programs. The larger and darker the red, the greater number of admitted patients.
The fine print:
Admissions to NYS OASAS‐certified Chemical Dependence Treatment Programs Located in NYC by Zip Code of Residence, from March 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020 Data Source: NYS OASAS Data Warehouse, CDS extract of 8/30/2020
Admissions are not counts of individual people. A person can be admitted to treatment more than once throughout the time period.
The data included in this presentation represent only admissions of patients to the OASAS‐certified treatment system. It is important to keep in mind that these data do not include individuals who do not enter treatment, get treated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), go outside of New York State for treatment, are admitted to hospitals but not to Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment, get diverted to other systems, or receive an addictions medication from a physician outside of the OASAS system of care.
Data includes significant others.
Admissions are not limited to residents of NYC
To see the live map (you can hover over a dot to learn more):
While East Harlem has 1.5% of New York City’s population, it has 13.6% of New York City’s drug treatment capacity, according to data as of 2019 from NY agency OASAS. The graphic below illustrates how severely East Harlem is oversaturated with drug treatment facilities. This unfair social injustice MUST END!
With so many patients commuting into East Harlem for drug treatment, our district is overburdened while already struggling with other social, environmental, economic, and educational issues. Petition to your elected officials – Send Email or call them -to either dramatically reduce our 13.6% burden or perhaps allocate 13.6% of New York City’s budget as a compensation for this injustice.
Drilling down to the data, we can see that Beth Israel Medical Center and Harlem East Life Plan alone contribute to nearly 60% of the capacity. Elected officials should immediately discuss ways to reduce this capacity.
As for which district is not receiving its fair share of drug treatment capacities? Data speaks for itself
In August I submitted a FOIL request to OASAS, the NYS agency that licenses every single addiction program in New York State (and who refuses to meet with HNBA, State Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez, or The Greater Harlem Coalition…) in order to discuss their decades-long practice of locating addiction programs in Black and Latinx majority communities like Harlem and East Harlem that wealthier and whiter neighborhoods reject. This striking example of systemic racism is proven by comparing community need with the number of programs and/or the capacity totals of these programs.
Quite simply, Harlem and East Harlem have an oversaturation of programs which serve people from outside our community and who commute in for treatment, then (frequently) simply hang out on our streets.
The OASAS 2018 FOIL data from (ABOVE – obtained by the Sugar Hill Concerned Neighbors group) indicated that over 19% of all the Opioid Treatment Programs in New York City are located here, in Harlem and East Harlem. The August 2020 FOIL request I recently received (BELOW – although incomplete – I will be resubmitting the request) indicates that Harlemites form 8% of the admissions to New York City’s addiction programs
While I am still working on getting the data for community admissions (not just NYC wide admissions), there is clear consistency between this 2020 data, and the 2017 data: Harlem and East Harlem are home to approximately 7 – 8% of people admitted to addiction programs.
The proof, therefore, for systemic racism is clear. While only home to 7 – 8% of addiction admissions, OASAS and the NYC Department of Health have for decades packed programs in our community to the point where we have 2.5 times the number of programs the addiction rate data would warrant.