Disappointing New Data

We are sad to report that new FOIL data indicates that number of patients traveling into Harlem to obtain methadone treatment continues to rise over the last 2 years.

For your background, below is the density map of methadone facilities in NYC.

And below is the overall capacity of methadone dispensing approved by NY State OASAS (Office of Addiction Services and Support)

NY Govt Wants to Hear Your Views on Pending Merger of Dept of Addiction Services and Dept of Mental Health

@NYOASAS and @NYSOHM are on a listening tour. Pls send your views to @NYGovCuomo! This is the chance to help build a more effective @NYOASAS and stop the issue of oversaturation
#greaterharlem #redliningharlem
#inequity
#oversaturation

There is an imminent plan at NY State to merge OASAS (Department of Addiction Services and Supports) and DOMH (Department of Mental Health). To this end, the departments are accepting public statements to understand best ways forward.

Let’s take advantage of this unique opportunity to help the government create a more effective Addiction Services for New York State. Submit a statement here

Or, you can just write to @NYSOASAS and @NYGovCuomo on twitter.

Tell them OASAS must do a better job in (1) preventing a neighborhood from being oversaturated with drug treatment facilities and (2) monitoring the impact of drug treatment centers on the nearby areas.

See more detail of the announcements below:

Governor Cuomo’s announcement of merger of DOMH and OASAS. Click on the image to learn more

Your statements don’t have to be lengthy or exhaustive.  A simple, heartfelt request from you is sufficient.  As we always say, they can’t read our minds.  We need to tell them what Harlem wants them to do.

GHC Letter to NYS Attorney General – No Response

Read the letter a Greater Harlem Coalition member wrote to the New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, who has still not replied.

You can tweet her at: @NewYorkStateAG and email her at: https://ag.ny.gov/contact-attorney-general-letitia-james

GHC letter to Senator Brian Benjamin

The Greater Harlem Coalition is calling on our elected officials and asking them to do the work necessary to enact legislation that will ensure that the oversaturation of Harlem and East Harlem is stopped and ultimately reversed.

The Greater Harlem Coalition is calling on our elected officials and asking them to do the work necessary to enact legislation that will ensure that the oversaturation of Harlem and East Harlem is stopped and ultimately reversed.

Below is the letter we recently sent our representatives:

Dear Senator Benjamin, Assembly Member Dickens, and Assembly Member Rodriguez, 

The Greater Harlem Coalition, a group of more than 6,000 members with an expected 10,000 by year’s end, is requesting legislative action to curtail the negative impact of methadone clinics in Harlem. 

As our representatives to the New York State Assembly and Senate, you have said “tell me what you would like to see done to mitigate the problems caused by these methadone clinics in Harlem”, and we are here today with a response. 

Bill A0307 has languished in the Mental Health Committee of the Assembly for almost a decade, and there have been no major changes regulating these clinics in years. During that time, OASAS licensed clinics have expanded in our community, attracting even greater numbers of illegal drug sellers, and increasingly eroded our quality of life by increasing crime, exposing young children to drugs and an unsafe environment, reducing area property values, and negatively impacting Harlem businesses, particularly small businesses.

We are requesting the following amendments to the current bill and/or that a new bill be introduced to address the oversaturation of methadone clinics in Harlem.

Additional regulations should require: 

1. A moratorium on the introduction of any new, or the expansion of any existing, clinics in Central and East Harlem. Owner/operators should pay punitive fines for violations, and their actions should trigger an immediate review and possible suspension of their OASAS license for significant violations.   

2. Any new clinic opening in New York City should not be placed within 1000 feet of a school, park, church, or existing OASAS licensed program, instead of 500 feet as currently slated. 

3. All methadone clinic license issuances and renewals must include an annual environmental impact assessment, to include quality-of-life metrics, conducted by the local police department and select community-based institutions. If the assessment shows clinics have a negative impact on the neighboring community, a license should not be granted or renewed.  

a. We suggest the local police department conduct this review because they issue and reject similar licenses for businessesthat may infringe on quality of life. We are of the opinion that a business’ ability to serve alcohol (as an example of something the NYPD regulates) has not caused nearly as much damage to quality of life as these clinics. 

4. Clinic owner/operators pay a recurring community impacts fee to address quality of life concerns and complaints caused by patients within a 7-block radius of these clinics. The citizens of New York should not have to suffer through the problems these clinics cause, especially since these clinics make millions of dollars for their owner/operators.  

The evidence is irrefutable that these clinics have repeatedly violated community norms, overburdened public resources, and negatively impacted economic development. This should not be the case, and the passage of Bill A0307, or new bills like it, with the amendments we requested, would create the change we are looking for. 

We are requesting that you respond to this letter in writing within two weeks.  Your response should include timelines that show how you will move forward with our legislative request, including a conversation with us about how these regulations should be framed. 

We look forward to hearing from you and working together to improve our community.  

Sincerely, Greater Harlem Coalition Member Organizations: 

118 Street Block Association 120th Street Block Association 128th Street Block Association 1775 Houses Tenants Association 97-98 Lexington & Park Ave. Neighbors A. Philip Randolph Square Neighborhood Alliance A.K. Houses Tenants Association Advocates 4 The Community Chaiwali Chocolat Restaurant & Bar CIVITAS Columbus Distributors Compass Realty Dorrence Brooks Property Owners & Residents Association Edward Jones Elaine Perry Associates Ephesus SDA Church Freeland Liqour Friendly Hands Ministry Friends of the Harriett Tubman Monument Gastiaburo + Stella Real Estate Ginjan Cafe Graham Court Renters Association Greater Calvary Baptist Church Halstead Manhattan Hamilton Terrace Block Association Harlem Business Alliance Harlem Lofts Harlem Park to Park Harlem Properties Inc. Harlem Shake Harlem Wine Gallery Harlem Home Heart to Heart Community Outreach Il Cafe Latte 1 Il Cafe Latte 2 Jacqueline Allmond Cuisine INC Lenox to 5th 124th Street Block Association LenoxFive 127th Street Block Association Malcolm Pharmacy Mirada Home Owners Association MXB United Neighbors United of West 132nd Street Block Association New York Council for Housing Development Fund Companies, Inc. Open Hands Legal Services Paris Blues Jazz Club Progressives Educating New Yorkers, Inc. R. Kenyatta Punter and Associates Rubys VintageSayers and Doers Silicon Harlem Sotto Casa Pizzeria Sugar Hill Concerned Neighbors Group The 100-168 West 121st Street Resident Block Association The Harlem Neighborhood Block Association The Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association The new 123rd Street Block Association (Lenox – 7th) The United New Church of Christ The West 130th Street Homeowners Association The West 132nd Street Block Association Union Settlement House Upholstery Lab Uptown Townhouse Valerie’s Signature Salon West 119th Block Association West 121st Street Block Association West 126th Street Block Association West 135th Street Block Association West 136th Street Block Association Wynn Optics   

CC: Govenor Andrew Coumo Mayor Bill DeBlasio Dermot Shea, Police Commissioner Chauncey Parker, Deputy Commissioner, NYPD Dr. Dave Chokski, Health Commissioner Hillary Kunins, DoHMH Steven Hanson, OASAS Zoraida Diaz, OASAS Diana Ayala, NYC Council Member Bill Perkins, NYC Council Member Brad Lander, NYC Council Member Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President Scott Stringer, NYC Comptroller Shaun Donovan, Mayoral Candidate Alvin Bragg, NYC DA CandidateTali Farhadian Weinstein, NYC DA Candidate Inspector Brown, 28th Precinct Shatic Mitchell, CB10 District Manager Dean Baquet, Executive Editor, NY Times Robert York, Editor, NY Daily News Michelle Gotthel, Editor, NY Post

OASAS Denies Responsibility for Decades of Oversaturating Harlem

OASAS Refuses to Accept Responsibility for Decades of Oversaturating Harlem

One of the Greater Harlem Coalition’s members received a letter from Zoraida Diaz, a District Director at OASAS.

What is missing from her passing-the-buck response is any acknowledgment of how OASAS has spent decades overstaturating Harlem and East Harlem with addiction programs that other wealthier and whiter communities have successfully blocked. This super concentration of programs (and the men and women who attend them), has become a magnet for illegal drug sellers and caused a toxic decline in our quality of life in Harlem and East Harlem.

Acknowledging OASAS’s role in creating the situation we see on East and West 125th Street and down adjacent Avenues, would be a first step to addressing the roots of the systemic racism that has led to the intolerable conditions we experience every day on the streets of our community.

Sadly, OASAS offers no willingness to begin a conversation on how to end the oversaturation they are responsible for, and how to achieve fair share goals for all New York communities.

Concentration of Substance Abuse Programs in Harlem, 2019

Since Robert Rodriguez’s election to New York State Assembly, the number of substance abuse programs in his district #68 has exploded to become larger than any other district in New York City.

Based on our 2019 data request via FOIL (Freedom of Information Law), we are able to display a map of substance abuse programs by NY State Assembly districts. The data shows that since Robert Rodriguez’s election, the number of substance abuse programs in his district has exploded to become larger than any other district in New York City.  [note the darkest district on this map]

As you know, New York State Assembly Districts have equal population counts, and thus Robert Rodriguez’s District 68 is shockingly oversaturated with 44 such programs.  By comparison, 46 other districts have less than 10 substance abuse programs, and 5 districts have none.

Compounding this oversaturation of Robert Rodriguez’s district is the fact that the second highest count of substance abuse programs is located in NY State Assembly District 70 – immediately adjacent.

Consistent with this data, in our earlier post, you can see that 76% of the patients getting drug treatment in Harlem’s substance abuse clinics do not reside in Harlem.

76% of those treated in Harlem are not from Harlem
In our earlier post, you can see that 76% of the patients coming into Harlem for drug abuse treatment do not reside in Harlem (click here to read more). With a different perspective, we can look at the density of methadone clinics by 5 borough.
Oversaturation of Manhattan relative to other borough

Hover over map to reveal Assembly Districts and number of substance abuse programs found in each.

How can you help Harlem?

Bronx politicians pushed back. When will those in Harlem?

Who are the New York politicians you should contact and demand fair share practices be implemented in Harlem?

The politicians in The Bronx are pushing back on new substance abuse facilities:
https://thecity.nyc/2019/04/pols-shun-drug-center-in-bronx-opioid-od-hotspot.html

What have Harlem’s politicians done?
https://twitter.com/nysoasas

Photo: The potential future site of the disputed drug-treatment clinic at 5622 Broadway in Kingsbridge, The Bronx. Photo: Ese Olumhense/THE CITY

Meeting NYS Assembly Person, Robert Rodriguez

Let your NYS Assembly member that fair share policies must be implemented today!

As you know, OASAS – the state agency that licenses ever addiction services program in New York State – is based up in Albany. New York State Assembly member, Robert Rodriguez’s chief of staff has suddenly gotten wind of The Greater Harlem Coalition and reached out to us to tell us what Robert Rodriguez is doing to stop oversaturation.

The meeting is scheduled on:

Monday, May 6, 2019
6pm
Robert Rodriguez offices
55 East 115th Street, NY, NY 10029
(Madison/115th Street )


Please check your calendar and see if you can make it.  We need a show of numbers to make sure that the Assembly Member takes our message about oversaturation back to Albany.

We really hope to see you there.

What is Fair Share?

In 2017, NYC City Council wrote a report outlining the policy of even distribution—fair sharing—of public services, both beneficial and least desirable.

Communities of color and lower socioeconomic status, such as Harlem and East Harlem, have historically been the dumping ground for services unwanted in other communities.

It is time to distribute these services evenly throughout the city. These include drug treatment facilities, homeless shelters, halfway houses, mental health facilities, waste treatment facilities.

In the 1989 City Charter (Section 203) it was required of the City Planning Commission to adopt the following criteria:

to further the fair distribution of the burdens and benefits associated with city facilities, consistent with community needs for services and efficient and cost effective delivery of services and with due regard for the social and economic impacts of such facilities upon the areas surrounding the sites.

The fair share criteria guide was previously revised in 1998, when Rudy Giuliani was mayor.

We ask that our federal government representatives, Rep. Adriano Espaillat and Sen. Charles Schumer ensure that funding, such as that established to address the opioid epidemic, be used efficiently and effectively, by placing facilities where they are most needed, and that the facilities be evenly distributed.

https://council.nyc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2017-Fair-Share-Report.pdf

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/about/publications/fair_share_guide.pdf

Letter of Support: Inez Dickens on the Concentration of Addiction Services in Harlem

Save the date for Thursday, March 28th, 2019. The Greater Calvary Church, 124th Street between Mount Morris Park West and Lenox Avenue.

Assemblywoman Inez Dickens has written a strong letter opposing Mount Sinai’s attempt to move their opioid programs from Morningside Heights into Harlem.

We were particularly impressed with the strong language concerning Northern Manhattan being “inundated with similar service providers.” We are having an impact.  In particular, the Greater Calvary Church’s Postcard Project has really helped

You can read the entire letter below:

Inez Dickens Letter of Support Against the Concentration of Addiction Services in Harlem

Please save the date Thursday, March 28th, 2019 at 7pm at The Greater Calvary Church, West 124th Street between Mount Morris Park West and Lenox Avenue.

Come out and thank Assemblywoman Dickens for her support. We will explain to Mount Sinai that Harlem is already oversaturated with addiction treatment services. Morningside Heights should shoulder their fair share of these programs.