Responding to an opioid overdose at home: administering naloxone, non-coercive aftercare, and radical love
Friday, August 14 at 5:00pm Eastern, Families for Sensible Drug Policy is privileged to join New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition (NJHRC) co-directors Jenna Mellor and Caitlin O’Neil for an online overdose reversal training for families, followed by a discussion on harm reduction approaches to a caring for a loved one who uses drugs.
The event coincides with International Overdose Awareness Day, a global day of solidarity with friends around the world to spotlight a dialogue in love and remembrance, informed by harm reduction and human rights.
We will discuss non-coercive aftercare, advocating for your loved one’s right to health & dignity, and engaging in radical love. Participants can contact NJHRC after the training to request a naloxone kit and fentanyl test strip kit to be mailed to them via the NJHRC request line 1-877-4NARCAN.
Our featured experts will explore the interwoven topics of how approaches to the Overdose Crisis are informed by cannabis reform, and the ongoing evolution of policy. The event is FREE and SEATS ARE LIMITED. (Refreshments and snacks will be served!) Sign up now!
What: Repping the Family Voice at DPA’s Reform Conference!
When: November 6-9, 2019
Where: St. Louis, MO
Why: Families for Sensible Drug Policy will be repping the family voice at Drug Policy Alliance’s Reform conference! Carol Katz Beyer and FSDP Secretary-Treasurer Rory Fleming will both be present to speak to harm reduction advocates across the nation and world about our innovative programs like Family Drug Support! We will also be attending to meet with other Open Society Foundations grantees for an upcoming push in New Jersey to replace tough love approaches with evidence-based public health endeavors and compassionate policies.
Coalition partners, family members from across the state, and our member-leaders found these statements to be tone-deaf, spitting in the face of the grief and anger we unite around to end this crisis. In response to these statements from the Governor’s office and his continued inaction on signing the bill that would expand access to lifesaving treatment, we are all returning to his office to DEMAND AN APOLOGY THROUGH HIS SIGNATURE ON THE BILL.
Welcome to the February 2019 edition of Family Matters – Families Matter,our new blog authored and curated by FSDP’s Guest Blogger–pioneering harm reduction therapist, educator, advocate and author Dee-Dee Stout.
This month, Dee Dee, with her exuberance and energy, explains why International Family Drug Support Day means so much to so many of us…
Join us in honoring International Family Support Day on February 24, 2019!! Please follow us on Facebook and check out our website at fsdp.org for more information.
Hello everyone and happy 2019!!
I’ve had a remarkably busy start to the New Year as perhaps some of you have as well, meaning there was no blog for January. My apologies! As the Lunar/Chinese New Year just passed, it seems a good time to discuss the new partnership between FSDP and Family Drug Support Australia. Having attended the engaging and insightful training in NYC with Tony Trimingham (www.fds.org.au) at Dr. Andrew Tatarsky’s Center for Optimal Living site, I want to speak about the work of both these organizations as we prepare to commemorate International Family Drug Support Day (2/24). This date is important to Tony personally as this is the date his own son, Damien, died of a drug-related overdose in 1997 (see https://vimeo.com/249347700 for more from Tony). Each year Tony and his team have chosen a topic on which to focus. This year it’s #SUPPORTTHEFAMILYIMPROVETHE OUTCOME.
31 years ago when I began my journey into traditional recovery, there was family support built into the rehab I entered. There was even a program for my young son, Jesse, though that program was an additional fee. But the Family Program, which met every Saturday during my treatment stay, was vibrant! In those days, the family was too often seen as part of the problem however (think “enabler” and “codependent”, labels I would never use today though many professionals still do). Today we know that family support is crucial to long-lasting change to happen for those with problem alcohol and other drug use.
Families have lacked support in their struggles and in daily living with those they love with problems using drugs (including alcohol). International Family Support Day is one way to highlight the need for families like outs at FSDP to not only be recognized and heard but also supported and encourage to speak out regarding their concerns and their needs, including the needs of their loved ones with problematic drug use. One saying that I love is this: “If my family member had died of cancer or heart disease or a car accident, neighbors would be bringing me a casserole. Not so with addiction.” We at FSDP say we want to see casseroles!
One of the biggest and fastest growing areas of family work in addictions is the notion that abstinence doesn’t have to be the final goal. In my world, I call this Harm Reduction Recovery™ (HRR). Recovery without abstinence is entirely possible but it does require thinking out of the norm! HRR can be a goal to itself or perhaps it’s a stepping stone on one’s path to abstinence – or something in between. Families see that the most important first goal is keeping their loved one(s) alive. That means for many families, requiring that they throw their loved one out when they exhibit the very symptoms we want them to seek treatment for is no longer an option. As my aunt (who’s taught me a ton about families, addiction, and harm reduction) said, “He’s my child. I’m not going to be able to sleep at night worried that he’s not only using drugs but now he’s alone on the streets. I don’t need more to worry about; I need less.” More and more families are speaking out against easy “solutions” like exiting their loved ones. They’ve come to the realization that my aunt did: throwing your loved one out may not be the best solution. In fact it may increase your own stress and add more trauma to all involved which doesn’t lead to a reduction of drug use. In fact, it often leads to an increase. We have learned that the opposite of recovery isn’t harm reduction but rather zero tolerance (and tough love). And we will NOT enable these concepts to rule us anymore.
Speaking of tough love, refusing to participate in this concept is another area of growth in family addictions work. We’ve learned through research that many problem drug users are using alcohol and other drugs to soothe trauma(s) they have experienced in life. Addiction is definitely enabled by, if not always directly caused by, trauma(s). We also know that having a trauma history can be a barrier to seeking help (lack of trust; fear of others’ judgments; lack of confidence; distrust of healthcare professionals, and more). Therefore again, if we want our loved ones to seek help, we must be willing to reduce/do away with as many barriers as possible. Demanding abstinence can be a huge barrier; insisting that problem drug users “hit bottom” is a re-traumatization which also increases barriers. Families are converging and demanding better for their dollars from rehab providers and other professionals. We at FSDP are behind them all the way!
Families for Sensible Drug Policy (or FSDP) was founded by Barry Lessin, a therapist working in the addictions field, and Carol Katz Beyer, a mom who lost 2 of her 3 young adult sons to drug-related overdoses. She knows a thing or two about what it’s like to change your approach to drug treatment/rehab and drug users! As we head into International Family Drug Support Day (IFDSD), here are a few things Carol and the gang at FSDP want you to know about this special day:
The objectives of IFDSD are to:
Reduce stigma and discrimination for families and drug users (bring on the casseroles!)
Promote family drug support services for families and friends (all treatment needs to include all players)
Promote harm reduction strategies for families and friends (no more tough love or zero tolerance)
In addition, the following issues will be highlighted around the world by all participating in this event:
Establishing the important role of FDS and FSDP volunteers in providing family support in the US, Australia, and the world
Reducing fatal and nonfatal overdoses from drugs including pharmaceuticals
Promoting the widespread availability of naloxone
Promoting greater inclusion of family members in the decision-making process for families experiencing problematic drug use
Promoting greater support and resources for treatment services for those who want it and need it – and appropriate alternatives for those not yet ready
For more on what you can do in your area – or if you have an idea of your own – please contact Carol Katz Beyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The take-away: please join us this year on February 24 to honor International Family Drug Support Day in any way that feels right to you. I’ll be lighting my candle that night for all those using drugs problematically and their families of chance and/or choice, as well as those lost to this complicated condition we call “addiction”. I’ll also be saying a “thank you” to my son, Jesse Lee, my late former husband (Bob) and my late in-laws (Rhett & Faren) for their constant, unconditional love and support while I developed a path to recover me. I’m also lighting my candle for my friends who were with me in the beginning and those who are with me now and those who will be with me in the future. Without them all, I would not be here and for that, I will always be grateful and will continue to work for the voice of all in addiction to be heard and honored. Support the Family, Change the Outcome. It’s a recovery revolution and the time is now.
 Let me define “family” here: One type is the family you’re born into which I call your “family of chance.” The other is the one you create which I call your “family of choice.” Sometimes they are the same of course. The important point is that you need not have a “family of chance” present, but you must have a family of choice then. All humans need community in some form as we are social beings. How much and what kind is up to the individual.
Thanks to the generosity and support of our friends and stakeholders Team FSDP attended the 12th National Harm Reduction Conference #harmred18 in New Orleans, LA, October 18-21, representing a growing number of families who are adversely impacted by the unprecedented public health crisis surrounding substance use.
This biennial event brought together some of the most creative minds from the US and abroad to address a myriad of complex issues facing the harm reduction movement. A diverse community of people who use drugs, social justice activists, service providers, healthcare workers, researchers, policymakers, public health officials, and law enforcement gathering together determined to put an end to the harms and injustices caused by the War on Drugs.
FSDP is dedicated to serving the needs of our families and our participation in this conference is a heartfelt expression to honor our loved ones who have been lost to overdose and to save the lives of those who remain at risk.
FSDP co-founders Carol Katz Beyer and Barry Lessin were privileged to be invited to join harm reduction pioneer and visionary Patt Denning, Ph.D. on her panel: “Loving Someone Who Loves Drugs and Alcohol.”
Patt outlined specific strategies for family members and friends based on guiding principles of harm reduction including “there are no rules except the ones you make”, “establish your absolute limits”, affirm your values, “identify what’s most important for you” and “tough love is neither, and it feels bad to all”.
The packed meeting room was inspired by Carol sharing how her lived experience inspired her to advocate for impacted families by creating a space to powerfully speak the truth to the powers that be in the broken treatment-industrial complex.
Barry gave an overview of the work of FSDP and shared how family and friends can become empowered by being open to reality-based harm reduction information and sharing it with peers, planting seeds of hope in their communities.
Our dedicated team was on hand to welcome attendees at our exhibit table continuing the conversation, networking and providing conference attendees with educational materials, tutorials and resources.
Thank you Juan Fernandez Ochoa for sending us the Support Don’t Punish t-shirts. They were a big hit!
The 2018 Harm Reduction Conference comes at a time when harm reduction, health care, and drug policy reform have entered a dynamic and critical phase. The prescription opioid and heroin overdose epidemic has captured national attention, with renewed focus on transmission of HIV and Hep C among people who use drugs. These trends are reshaping the policy and public health landscapes, making harm reduction more urgent and relevant than ever before.
Because of your ongoing support, we are bringing our communities together, empowering families, restoring health and saving lives!
Welcome to the September 2018 edition of Family Matters – Families Matter, our new blog authored and curated by FSDP’s Guest Blogger–pioneering harm reduction therapist, educator, advocate and author Dee-Dee Stout. To learn more about how your family can join our growing community of enlightened friends and advocates sign up here now.
In the first of a series of our Fall 2018 blogs, since September is Recovery Month for SAMHSA, this seemed the perfect time to write about the word, or concept of, “recovery” specifically as it’s typically applied in substance use disorder (or “addiction”) treatment.
September is also the traditional “back to school” month and many of us have kids who are returning to school or perhaps young adults transitioning to college. This is a good time to to review constructive ways to talk to our kids about alcohol and other drugs, and also to take a new look at treatment, drug policy, binge drinking. and how to negotiate the holidays Therefore, for the remainder of 2018, our blogs will take a look at those topics and more. See you next month! #recoverywithoutabstinence #stopthestigma #familiesmatter
And now our 2018 “Recovery Month” edition:
Usually when we hear (or often use) the term “recovery”, it has a very specific meaning: nearly always 12-Step oriented, abstinence-only based, and says to us this is a disease you’ll have forever. I want to definitively make the case for a new kind of recovery in the world of addiction(s): an “inclusive v exclusive” recovery that does not require the elements we’re used to – including abstinence – but whose definition can certainly contain it …and so much more.
Recovery. It’s a truly loaded word (pun intended). Let’s go on a bit of a journey to see how and from where our concept(s) of recovery stems as it’s a word that comes with a lot of baggage, both positive and less than positive.
According to etymonline.com, the origin/first use of the word “recovery” comes in the mid-14th century and meant “return to health.” “Recovery” originates from the Anglo-French word “recoverie” meaning “remedy or cure.” The additional meaning of an “act of righting oneself after a blunder, mishap, etc.” is from the 1520’s. Could this also be at the root of the word having such moral implications?
In his July 2014 article for Psychology Today, well-known addiction expert, author and former Harvard Medical School professor, psychiatrist Dr. Lance Dodes discusses some of the problems we have with the word “recovery.” In part, he sees the word as acceptable in the context of “recovering from a medical illness”, meaning that 1) relapse/lapse is normal, and that 2) one is headed toward a cure or an ending of the condition/illness. Quoting from the article, Dr. Dodes says, “In most of life, ‘being in recovery’ means a person is making progress even though s/he isn’t ‘cured.’” This is far different than how we too often hear the word used in addiction treatment circles or our greater culture. In both places, “recovery” typically means that one is abstinent and attending a 12-Step group – “working the program” to use the language of AA for example. This is meant to establish an “us vs. them” quality: you’re either attending meetings, working the Steps, and have a sponsor so you’re “in recovery” or you’re not and therefore you’re not in recovery. Black or white; right or wrong. Plus, the implication is that anything short of a 12-Step traditional recovery means you’re not doing recovery “right.” A lot of people – including many professionals – believe this is what the word means and ONLY what it means. I, too, believed this for a long time.
I went to residential treatment here in Oakland, CA, in the late 1980’s. These were the “salad days” for residential treatment, coming on the heels of First Lady Betty Ford openly discussing her addiction to alcohol and pain medications. No one of her stature had ever talked about their alcohol and other drug problems in the US and her “coming out” can’t be understated; it was also a huge step in reducing the stigma/shame for others to seek help for their substance misuse/problems. Finally, this event was also partly responsible for opening the doors of treatment to become the Big Business it is today (more on that in another piece).
In treatment, we were taught that addiction is a 3-fold disease: bio-psycho-social (some also added “spiritual”). It was like a, sleeping tiger, always waiting to pounce on you unless you were constantly vigilant in your recovery (meaning abstinence, attending meetings regularly, and “working a good program.”). We were taught phrases such as, “Your mind is like a dangerous neighborhood: don’t go in it alone” and “Avoid old people, places and things to stay sober.” In other words, 1) don’t trust your own thinking because you’re an addict/alcoholic and “your best thinking got you here”, 2) you’re never fully recovered, and 3) you must cut off all your old friends as they were only using friends and therefore not interested in your well-being; your relationships were only based on drug use. I remember someone saying that everything I had done up to the point of my entering treatment/recovery didn’t count – but now my life could really begin: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life” was up on a wall somewhere. Scary stuff. And I was scared straight.
In what’s known in 12-Step circles as the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous 3rd edition), there are several references to the word “recovery” and “recovering” (somewhere around 15) but also references (about 10) to the word “recovered” which is akin to blasphemy today in most 12-Step circles. This is another point of contention for many of us. Can we ever say we’re “recovered” or even “cured?” I say, “yes we can,” to borrow a phrase. And that we should. Why? Because to those outside of traditional treatment/recovery, I hear folks constantly say, “Apparently treatment doesn’t work because you people are never recovered!” I had never thought of the phrase “recovering” as potentially responsible for this perception. I personally say that after over 30 years of continuous abstinence, I am completely comfortable declaring that I’m “recovered;” the problems I have today have nothing to do with illicit drug and/or alcohol use (sometimes that would be simpler, frankly). The first paragraph in Chapter 2 of the 3rd edition of the Big Book titled, “There is a Solution,” also appears to see an end state to addiction. It states: “We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, (italics theirs) know thousands of men and women who were once just as hopeless as Bill. Nearly all have recovered (emphasis mine). They have solved the drink problem.” This passage certainly seems to imply that one can indeed recover. But then what exactly does it mean to recover? And how do we achieve this state of being?
Mindfulness + Connectedness + Inner Growth
A Phrase is Born. While working for the large American HMO Kaiser in the 1990’s, I was charged with developing and leading a relapse prevention track for patients in our Chemical Dependency Recovery Program (CDRP). These were folks for whom the course of treatment we offered (intensive outpatient program or IOP) didn’t work – or, as we phrased things back then, patients who didn’t try hard enough, were in denial of their “disease,” or simply relapsed back into drug/alcohol use due to inattention to “people, place, and things.” During one of our evening groups we were working on a definition for “recovery” and decided to see what we could come up ourselves. After all, we surmised, how can one relapse if you don’t have a clear idea of recovery?
Mindfulness, connectedness, and inner growth was the phrase we all agreed described the basic ingredients for recovery. It wasn’t until later that someone noticed we neglected to include anything about abstinence/sobriety, 12-Step attendance, or the other usual things we associate(d) with recovery. I remember that night well because a gigantic light bulb didn’t just light up, it blew up in my head! This was the moment I began to wrap my head around the idea that perhaps alcohol and other drug use itself – and abstinence specifically – really had nothing to do with one’s healing or recovery; recovery wasn’t in fact begun with stopping drug use first (which is what we always told folks). What was at the core of the concept of true recovery of one’s life we decided were these 3 elements defined here – which may or may not include an end to one’s drug use:
Mindfulness: paying attention – to what you’re doing, who you’re with, what you’re putting in your mouth/arm/throat/etc., really everything that’s happening as well as you humanly can, plain and simple.
Connectedness: this means getting reacquainted with yourself, a vertical connection, we called it – your body, your mind, your spirit – and fully trusting them. This also spoke to the idea that your mind is connected to your body (yes, no matter what Descartes said, they’re attached; it’s called a neck!). This vertical connection could also be to a higher power or great spirit of some kind. Connectedness includes a horizontal connection, too, or connection with others.
Inner growth: this was a bit more difficult to flesh out at the time but we settled on it meaning whatever an individual does that leads to their seeking out new information and new ideas, being a part of the world at large. This could be going to school, walking in the park, dating, making new friends, a yoga practice, meditation, attending synagogue/mosque/church/temple/circle, or even reading. Or anything else that “feeds” a human’s curiosity and need for knowledge.
And that was it. Drug use, abstinence, continued using or something in between, wasn’t mentioned. Why? Because we realized that in any other bio-psycho-social illness (which nearly all are), one did not have to recover perfectly. In fact, in my definition humans cannot do this – at least not all the time. And we realized that it wasn’t the alcohol or other drugs that were at the core of the problems we had: they were but a symptom. 
Therefore, one could indeed be in recovery and use drugs. Not problematically because then you’re not connected or mindful or growing. But we agreed (again to our collective surprise) that yes, one could be using alcohol or other drugs – having a healthy relationship with them – and be mindful, connected, and growing internally: in recovery. And we also agreed that for some folks, to have these 3 elements in their lives could require abstinence: total, partial, forever or for a while, we made no comment on those notions. That would remain up to the individual (which also fits within AA/12-Step guidelines of no one being able to tell another that they are an “alcoholic or addict.”). In fact, we realized that having healthy relationships of all kinds could be achieved through these three elements. What a jolt to the brain this was to us all!
These days, I have come to realize that it appears these elements or ingredients of recovery also build on one another: for example, you first need to improve or have some mindfulness about what you’re doing before you can truly connect with others and yourself, and that action can lead to growing internally. And again, we made the argument then which I’ll repeat here, drugs and drug use (including alcohol of course) don’t necessarily impede one’s ability to recover or regain health from having problems with them – or being “addicted.” The problem is in one’s relationship with substances or behaviors that have become problematic or compulsive, and that we continue to engage in despite negative consequences – what we call “addiction.” So here’s the Big Question: what if we as a collective culture decided to work on these 3 ingredients and the issues that get in one’s way of achieving them? What if we decided to help those in need to uncover why they – or collectively, why so many of us in the wealthiest nation in the galaxy – need to use substances in order to cope? Hmmm…
It’s time to reinvent the word recovery to mean this: “I have recovered my life and my health. with or without abstinence. I am mindful, connected, and growing.” Now that’s real recovery!
One of the ways to address these issues of the lack of mindfulness, connectedness, and inner growth is with what the Canadian author, physician, and addiction expert Dr. Gabor Mate calls “compassionate inquiry.” Dr. Mate makes the case for needing people in our lives who can/will listen deeply, compassionately to those of us involved in using substances/behaviors that are causing pain in our lives. Another advocate of doing things differently in treatment is Stanton Peele, PhD, JD. In his newest book on addiction, Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addict and Reclaim Your Life with The Perfect Program, Dr. Peele discusses these issues at length, as he has for over 50 years. As an early adopter of harm reduction principles, he has tried to get us all – but especially we Americans – to see that the way we have come to view addiction is all wrong: 1) it’s not a disease, 2) most people quit on their own (so how can it be a disease), and 3) not all people are susceptible to becoming addicted. In fact, by viewing addiction as a disease, our society has actually increased the possibility of relapse. It reminds me a bit of Charlton Heston’s famous line at the end of the film, The Planet of the Apes, when he realizes where he really is – back on Earth: “You finally really did it. You maniacs! …God damn you. God damn you all!” In looking for the reasons for addiction, we have to consider that perhaps, unintentionally, we have done much of the damage ourselves with our racist policies, unscientific treatments/interventions, and blaming of the people who use drugs (and often their families as well). It sure is easier to blame a drug(s). It’s much harder to look within, compassionately and deeply, for the reasons so many of us are in pain (of all kinds) and need relief to cope with living.
I see September’s Recovery Month as a great time to take a look at what we’ve done with addiction treatment and recovery. And to take a hard look in the Mirror of Truth about our society and its complicity in addiction(s). It’s time to stop the unscientifically-tested treatment of this “medical-and-more” complicated condition. It’s time to demand professionals who are highly trained and compassionate – always. It’s time to radically change how we view people with substance problems – and their loved ones – regardless of whether you believe this is a condition of their making or not.
It’s time to reinvent the word recovery to mean this: “I have recovered my life and my health. with or without abstinence. I am mindful, connected, and growing.” Now that’s real recovery!
DON’T MISS NEXT MONTH’s EDITION:
COMMUNICATING WITH LOVE ABOUT DRUGS WITH SOMEONE YOU LOVE.
 A Johnson Institute-style intervention was held in 1978 for Mrs. Ford leading her to seek treatment for her substance use. In 1982, she founded The Betty Ford Center which is now part of the Hazelden family of programs.
 As discussed in our last piece on “tough love,” the originator of this phrase is the founder of Synanon, Chuck Dederich.
 “A Reference Guide to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous” by Stewart C.; (1986). Recovery Press, Seattle, WA.
 p17. Note: The “Bill” that is referenced here refers to the co-founder of AA, Bill Wilson.
 Remember that church I mentioned in my first blog, the United Church of Christ or UCC? There we were taught that God was within each person and living thing on Earth and that we were all connected. Very Deepak Chopra. Hmmm…
 Interestingly enough, a similar idea can be found in AA’s Big Book on p85, in this line: “What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” And I was taught that “spiritual” merely meant connected.
 Quote from slain San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, one of the country’s first openly gay politicians. This is from a tape recording (1977-11-18) to be played in the event of his assassination, quoted in Randy Shilts book, The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk. (1982), p. 277. Wikipedia.com; personal communications.
 From Dr. Mate’s website, drgabormate.com: “Through Compassionate Inquiry, the client can recognize the unconscious dynamics that run their lives and how to liberate themselves from them.”
 For more information, view the results of the NESARC study and more, discussed in Dr. Peele’s book, p36-42. (2014), Da Capo Press.
 Miller et al; “What predicts relapse? Prospective testing of antecedent models.” https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1360-0443.91.12s1.7.x
The 1st National Family Drug Support Day (IFDSD) was held on February 24, 2016–the anniversary of the passing of our good friend Tony Trimingham’s beloved son Damien from a drug related overdose. Tony, the founder of Australia’s Family Drug Support, partnered with FSDP to bring IFDSD to the United States in 2017 and the day has now become an annual international event to highlight the need for families like ours to not only be recognized and heard but to be supported and encouraged to speak about their concerns and their needs.
Thanks to all of the amazing participants who came out strong to make last years event a huge success! We are excited to unite old friends and welcome new ones, as we invite everyone to host a gathering—large or small–and raise awareness in your communities. Watch and share this important video about IFDSD with a heartfelt message by Tony.
THIS YEAR’S THEME IS #SUPPORTTHEFAMILYIMPROVETHE OUTCOME
The objectives of IFDSD are to:
Reduce stigma and discrimination for families and drug users
Promote family drug support services for families and friends
Promote harm reduction strategies for families and friends
In addition, the following issues will be highlighted:
The important role of FDS and FSDP volunteers in providing family support in the US, Australia, and the world
Reducing fatal and nonfatal overdoses from drugs including pharmaceuticals
Promoting the widespread availability of naloxone
Promote greater inclusion of family members in the decision making process for families experiencing problematic drug use
Promoting greater support and resources for treatment services for those who want it and need it
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR EVENT:
Be an ambassador for change in your neighborhood by raising awareness within your community
Request to meet with your local schools, doctors, political representatives, law enforcement and clergy and we will provide you with a tool kit and promotional materials to support you in your advocacy. Talking points for communicating with the public are here.
Invite friends, family or coworkers to share an informal gathering over food or coffee to share discussion and voice the issues.
Call your local state and federal legislators. To locate your US representative click here. Talking points for communicating with the legislators are here.
Host a harm reduction workshop
Invite stakeholders to participate in a naloxone training
Promote IFDSD on social media: #SupportTheFamilyImproveTheOutcome
All participants will receive a personal event page that will showcase your organization and identify you as a supporter of this important event.
We welcome your ideas so please feel to be as creative as you like. For more information of to forward your ideas please contact Barry Lessin email@example.com or Carol Katz Beyer firstname.lastname@example.org
Your tax-deductible gift will directly help fund our community-based events and reach more people to reduce stigma and discrimination for impacted families, promote better access to treatment and drug support services and encourage wider distribution of naloxone that will reduce fatal and non fatal drug overdoses.
We need your help to make sure that the voices of families continue to be heard. We invite you to stand with FSDP in our battle to empower families, restore health, and save lives.
Carol Katz Beyer and I had an opportunity to represent the voice of the family to share the family perspective acknowledging that on how to use funds to better ensure that life-saving harm reduction strategies and tools will get into the hands of families before problems develop and therefore be able to prevent many overdoses:
“The staggering number of people who are relapsing and dying is unacceptable despite having proven strategies to reduce mortality and improve care. New York State has made it a priority to emphasize the need to address substance use disorder as a public health issue but we now must take the next steps to shift funding streams to enable universal access to proven life-saving public health tools such as medication-assisted treatment, naloxone, and harm reduction services.”
Please join FSDP co-founders Carol Katz Beyer and Barry Lessin, Team FSDP and our partners–The Center for Optimal Living, Harm Reduction Coalition, The New School, International Network of People Who Use Drugs (INPUD), New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York State Psychological Association’s Division on Addictions, and VOCAL-NY—who are representing our families to demand solutions based on a new paradigm of healthcare that provides a comprehensive continuum of care with multi-tiered strategies that empower families with reality-based solutions.
We are privileged to be represented on the panel of representatives from the fields of public health, psychotherapy, community engagement, public policy, and The New School’s Student Health Services who will present their perspectives on the impact of opioid use, the opioid crisis, and how to reduce the number of overdoses.
We will also be training attendees in overdose prevention strategies and naloxone kits will be provided to those who wish to receive them.
Following an overview of the current opioid use patterns and overdose rates in New York, we’ll discuss the programmatic work that is being done to address the multiple challenges associated with this issue. We’ll hear from people who work with active drug users as well as current and former people using drugs contributing to the panel discussion. In addition, treatment professionals will describe an integrative harm reduction approach to working with people using drugs.
Overdose deaths are preventable and we shouldn’t be punished for making progress in our in our path to optimal health and well-being! Lives will be saved when we shift our thinking about treatment to complement and support public health overdose prevention strategies. A harm reduction-informed continuum of care linking harm reduction strategies to the full array of effective substance use disorder treatments needs to be integrated with overdose prevention efforts.
Families impacted by substance use deserve the best care available. Every other medical condition is guided by best practices and we expect nothing less. We are in the best position to help our loved ones and we demand the information and services required to give us the best chance for successful outcomes.
This event is open to the public and is free of charge.