Expanding the availability and impact of Harm Reduction education and training.

Making Harm Reduction a Priority in New York State

Over the last few months, New York State has not only changed leadership but has elevated issues such as the opioid settlement fund and syringe decriminalization. The New York State Harm Reduction Association hosted a virtual town hall discussion on where we are now with these issues, how our new administration may impact these efforts, and what you can do to make your voice heard.

  • Moderator

    • Alexis Pleus, Executive Director, Truth Pharm
      Co-Chair, New York State Harm Reduction Association
  • Panelists
    • Tracie Gardner, Vice President of Advocacy Policy, Legal Action Center
    • Charles King, Chief Executive Officer, Housing Works
    • Assemblymember Phil Steck, New York District 110

Emergency Town Hall: Opioid Settlement Fund and Syringe Decriminalization

New York State legislators are days away from determining the fate of the opioid settlement fund and syringe decriminalization. On June 1, 2021, we hosted an emergency town hall discussion on the current bills, their impact, and what New Yorkers can do to make their voice heard.

  • Moderator

    • Emma Fabian, MSW, AVP of Harm Reduction, Evergreen Health
  • Panelists
    • Biz Berty, Drug User Union Organizer, VOCAL-NY
    • Tracie Gardner, Vice President of Advocacy Policy, Legal Action Center
    • Christine Khaikin, Senior Health Policy Attorney, Legal Action Center

Marijuana Legalization: Social and Economic Justice for All New Yorkers

After years of advocacy efforts, New York may legalize and equitably regulate marijuana for adult use this year. In March 2021, NYSHRA collaborated with the Drug Policy Alliance for a discussion on its potential impact for New Yorkers.

  • Moderators

    • Charles King, CEO, Housing Works
    • Melissa Moore, New York State Director, Drug Policy Alliance
  • Panelists
    • Dr. Tanya Adams, Co-Chair, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation – NY Cmte., Founder, Setauket Primary Medical Care
    • Michael Galipeau, Consultant, Urban Survivors Union, CEO, Scofflaw Solutions
    • Nila Natarajan, Supervising Attorney & Policy Counsel, Brooklyn Defenders Services, Family Defense Practice
    • Eli Northrup, Policy Counsel, Bronx Defenders

COVID Town Hall Series Part Two

The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly: COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake Among Harm Reduction Agencies

For part two of our COVID town hall series, we focused on vaccine uptake among harm reduction agencies. This discussion explored vaccine hesitancy, challenges in vaccine rollout, and what harm reduction advocates can do to promote vaccine access in their communities.

  • Moderators

    • Alessandra Miller, ACR Health
    • Robert Suarez, Urban Survivors Union
  • Panelists

    • Pierre Arty, MD, Housing Works
    • Reilly Glasgow, The Alliance for Positive Change
    • Johanne Morne, New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute

COVID Town Hall Series Part One

The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly: COVID-19’s Impact on Services for People Who Use Drugs

In part one of our COVID town hall series, NYSHRA brought together a panel of experts to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on service organizations serving people who use drugs.

  • Moderators

    • Jasmine Budnella, Drug Policy Coordinator, VOCAL-NY
    • Emma Fabian, MSW, AVP of Harm Reduction, Evergreen Health
  • Panelists

    • Biz Berthy, Drug Policy Organizer, VOCAL-NY
    • Roberto Gonzalez, Director of Syringe Exchange Programs, ACR Health
    • Julie Ritzler-Shelling, Director of Harm Reduction Services, Trillium Health
    • Will Robertson, Member, Peer Network of New York

NYSHRA Presents: Creating a Framework for Anti-Racist Substance Use Treatment

This three part weekly webinar, hosted by NYS Harm Reduction Association in July and August 2020, brought experts together to discuss the presence of racism in the origins of the drug war, current drug treatment norms, alternatives to criminalization and highlight opportunities for reparations and change.

  • Part One: History of Racism Embedded in Drug Treatment and the War on Drugs

    • Samuel K. Roberts, Jr. PhD, Associate Professor, Columbia University
    • Sheila Vakharia, PhD, Deputy Director, Drug Policy Alliance
    • Helena Hansen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, NYU Lagone Health
  • Part Two: Criminal Justice, Race, and Drug Treatment

    • Kassandra Frederique, Managing Director Policy, Advocacy & Campaigns, Drug Policy Alliance
    • Deborah A. Reid, JD, Senior Health Policy Attorney, Legal Action Center
    • Tracie Gardner, VP of Policy Advocacy, Legal Action Center
    • Dinah Ortiz-Adames, Child Welfare Reform Expert
  • Part Three: Opportunities and Limitations of Alternatives to Drug Criminalization

    • Jasmine Budnella, Campaign Coordinator, VOCAL-NY
    • Justine Waldman, MD, CEO, REACH Medical
    • Erin Miles Cloud, Co-Founder, Movement for Family Power
    • Joseph R. Turner, JD, CEO, Exponents, Inc.

Watch Part One

In part one, our panelists spoke about the origin’s of the 1970’s War on Drugs as a way to criminalize Black Americans, and the way it has informed how drug laws and drug treatment have progressed. NYSHRA was joined by Samuel K. Roberts, Jr PhD of Columbia University, Helena Hansen, MD, PhD of NYU Lagone Health and Sheila Vakharia, PhD of Drug Policy Alliance for this critical conversation.

Watch Part Two

In part two, our panelists speak about the ways that current drug treatment norms and mandates and the criminal justice system have been intertwined, and the differential ways that society treats drug use in white versus black and brown communities.

NYSHRA was joined in this dynamic conversation by Kassandra Frederique of the Drug Policy Alliance, Deborah A. Reid and Tracie Gardner of Legal Action Center and Dinah Ortiz-Adames, a child welfare reform expert.

Watch Part Three

In part three, our panelists speak about the landscape of alternatives being presented to incarceration. What are the ways this brings us closer to decriminalization of our communities? How are the types of interventions and the timeline in which the consideration of alternatives is still centered around protecting white drug users?

NYSHRA was joined in this dynamic conversation by Joe Turner of Exponents, Jasmine Budnella of VOCAL NY, Erin Miles Cloud of Movement for Family Power and Dr. Justine Waldman of REACH Medical. Moderated by Robert Suarez of the Urban Survivors Union.

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