Westchester’s Opioid Problem: What To Do
Good Samaritan Hospital: Holiday Donation
As the holidays approach, and the cold weather gets colder, KGMF will be donating hats and gloves for patients spending this time at Good Samaritan Hospital. We are happy to donate these necessities again this year, as we have in years past. We would also like to wish everyone a happy, safe, and warm holiday season.
Friends of Recovery: Share a Meal Sponsorship
KGMF recently co-sponsored a Sunday Brunch event with Orange County Friends of Recovery called Share a Meal, Share Memories. The event brings together people who have lost a loved one to addiction, hoping to foster a support group for those personally affected.
A Restaurant Takes on the Opioid Crisis: One Worker at a Time
Iowa Family Doctor: Taking on the Opioid Epidemic
June 8: Graduation Ceremony
On June 8, 2018, at 11AM, The Rockland County Family Treatment Court will have a Graduation Ceremony. The ceremony will be held at the Rockland County Courthouse on the 3rd floor in New City, NY. Please feel free to join us for refreshments to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates.
May 31: Evening of Excellence
The foundation presented its annual scholarship at the Evening of Excellence awards at Suffern High School. The scholarship was given to Molly Schaarscharch who submitted a song / poem parody on the nature of college admission rejections.
April 28: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
As the opioid crisis continues to affect families across the United States, Google brainstormed how their technical expertise could help families and individuals combat the epidemic. Research by the federal government has shown that prescription drug abuse is a large driver of opioid addiction, and that many abused drugs are obtained from family and friends. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) created the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, happening this Saturday, April 28, as a way to allow people to properly dispose of unneeded or expired prescription drugs. While this is a great way to help prevent others from misusing the drugs, people may have a hard time finding the disposal programs within their community. That is where Google comes in; using Google Maps API, the Google team worked with the DEA to create a locator tool helping anyone find a place near them to dispose of leftover drugs. To learn more about how Google is teaming up to fight the opioid crisis, and how you can take part by disposing of your unwanted drugs this weekend, visit here.
Opiate Crisis Intervention Court: Buffalo, NY
Judge Craig D. Hannah’s Intervention Court is not your typical drug court. Two kinds of defendants enter the courtroom: those having their cases considered in the usual way, and those invited to step closer to the judge himself. All face criminal charges, but those stepping closer have volunteered to take part in an experiment where the primary goal is to save their lives. Participants are facing charges related to addiction, in what is believed to be the nation’s first opioid court. The measure of success is preventing death, and recognizing that failure is part of the recovery process. Participants are required to appear daily before Judge Hannah, a judge who was once also addicted to drugs. Judge Hannah speaks to the defendants as his peers, leaving the legal jargon behind, and trying to connect with them on a simple level of how they might be feeling from one day to the next. If his defendants use, they will be returned to criminal court to face their charges. If they agree to treatment but no beds are available, they wait. But if they complete the program – going 60 days without drugs – their charges will likely be reduced or dropped all together. The program is young, starting last May, but many others are already looking to Buffalo as the model. To learn more about some of the current participants, and Judge Hannah’s views on helping addiction through his courtroom, visit here.
New Documentary Film: “Reversing the Stigma”
NYS OASAS’ and the NYS Media Service Center’s documentary “Reversing the Stigma” is now available on YouTube. The full-length film highlights the work being done in New York State to combat addiction, reminding viewers that addiction is a treatable chronic disease. Multiple people are profiled in various stages of recovery, sharing their stories and experiences. Friends of Recovery – New York recently showed the film at their 2017 Recovery Conference, followed by an engaging panel discussion. Other organizations around NYS are encouraged to also show the film to start conversations and bring attention to the chronic disease of addiction. The full documentary can be viewed here. The film is also being shown at various events around New York as well as on local tv stations, and a list of these showings can be found here.
Drug Addiction: Medical Challenge vs. Criminal Justice Issue
The United States and Portugal, among many other countries worldwide, have struggled with how to solve the increasing problem of illicit drugs and drug addiction. In 2001, the U.S. and Portugal both took decisive action, but in complete opposite directions.
While the U.S. cracked down and spent billions to incarcerate drug users and dealers, Portugal went the experimental route; they decriminalized the use of all drugs and kickstarted a major public health campaign to tackle addiction. While Portugal was initially scolded around the world for their experiment, it is now hailed as a model and commonly referred to as the Portuguese model. More than 15 years later, Portugal’s approach looks to be helping them win the war on drugs by ending it altogether. The Health Ministry estimates 25,000 heroin users currently, down from 100,000 when the policy was first put in place. The number of Portuguese dying from overdoses has also plunged more than 85%, about one-fiftieth the latest number in the U.S.
Delegations from around the world are flying to Portugal to study their model. Nicholas Kristof, from the NY Times, also traveled to the country to talk to drug dealers, drug users, and public health experts; to learn about the model for a drug policy that is both compassionate and effective. Aside from decriminalizing drug use, there are a few key links to the public health efforts. One includes mobile vans that provide free methadone, an opioid substitute, to users on a daily basis to enable them to stabilize their lives and hold jobs. Another crucial piece of the initiative includes the outreach programs; psychologists will meet with users, encourage them to try to quit, and give them clean hypodermics to prevent the spread of AIDS. While these public health workers may not get all users to quit, they do help to prevent their deaths.
Portugal’s public health approach to drug use and users reflects an increasingly common view worldwide that addiction is a chronic disease requiring medical care, rather than a criminal act. While not a perfect or magical solution, the Portuguese model is saving lives and decreasing overall drug use. To learn more about Kristof’s observations, what the country’s drug dealers think, and how others can learn from Portugal’s model, visit here.
Annual Golf Outing Was A Huge Success
On September 18, 2017 the Foundation held its annual charity golf outing at Fairview Country Club in Greenwich CT. It was a wonderful day. A full field of golfers teed off at 1PM and had the opportunity to donate additional funds at the 11th hole thanks to the long drive exhibition. Many auction items donated were bid on at the silent auction at dinner, and the 50.50 winner, Larry Lerner, donated back his winnings. Dr. Stephen Ferrando of Westchester Medical Center spoke briefly about the partnership with the foundation and the work we are doing to combat drug addiction.
Stand Together to Remember Candlelight Service
On August 31st, 2017, the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Council of Orange County, in conjunction with Friends of Recovery Orange is hosting a Stand Together to Remember Candlelight service in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day at Village Square in Goshen at 7pm.
Thousands of people worldwide will stand alongside the friends and families of fatal overdose victims to reflect on those who have been lost. The event is organized on the understanding that no one need feel shame or disgrace over a drug overdose.
Jim Conklin, Executive Director of ADAC and Betsy Dunlevy and Ashley Villodas, Co-Chairs of FOR Orange will be leading this local event, where family and friends who have lost loved ones to overdose can participate in lighting a candle in remembrance and a simultaneous sky lantern release. Participants are encouraged to bring a photo or token of their loved one to be placed by their candle and wear silver to show your support.
Foundation Announces Donation For Renaming of Mid Hudson Treatment Center
Today is an exciting day for the Foundation. We have pledged a donation to rename the Mid Hudson Regional Hospital Turning Point Program as the Kyle Goldberg Turning Point Program at Mid Hudson Regional Hospital, a Westchester Medical Center facility located in Poughkeepsie NY. With this renaming and our continued commitment to invest in educational seminars related to addiction and treatment, the Foundation is extending its mission to assist young adults and those who treat them for addiction throughout Westchester and Putnam counties.
Suffern High School Scholarship Presentation
In memory of Kyle who received the Most Likely to Appear on Saturday Night Live award when he graduated from Suffern High School, the Foundation awards a scholarship to a graduating senior who plans to attend college. The scholarship is based on submitting a work which exemplifies a funny, comical, or unique way of expressing themselves. This year’s winner is Jake who sent in a picture of him sitting in his bathing suit in a chair in the snow accompanied by a short story that certainly made us remember Kyle. Congratulations to Jake and best of luck in the future!
Suffern High School Hockey Scholarship
Each year, the Kyle Goldberg Memorial Foundation awards a scholarship to a Suffern High School senior who most closely exemplifies the hard work and dedication Kyle Goldberg displayed when he was a member of the hockey team. This year, Shaan Greenberg received the KGMF Suffern High School Hockey Scholarship. Shaan will be going to the University of Texas on a music scholarship, and will play club hockey there as well. Good luck to Shaan!
Alcohol Awareness Month
Alcohol Awareness Month, taking place over the month of April, was first established in 1987 to help reduce the stigma often associated with alcoholism. The Awareness month was founded and is sponsored by NCADD, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependencies.
Each April, communities are encouraged to reach out to the American public with information about alcohol, alcoholism, and recovery. This focused month provides the opportunity to not only increase awareness but also understanding of alcoholism, causes, treatments, and recovery. It aims to decrease stigma or misunderstandings in order to make seeking help more readily available to those who suffer from the disease.
As a part of the month long focus on educating others, the first weekend in April is traditionally an Alcohol-Free Weekend. This kicks off the Awareness month by raising public awareness about the use of alcohol and how it can affect individuals, families, businesses and communities. NCADD openly invites all Americans to participate in three alcohol-free days each year. To learn more about Alcohol Awareness Month, and NCADD’s mission as a whole, please visit here.
KGMF Announces Pledge To Westchester Medical Center Foundation
The Foundation has agreed to a long term pledge to the Westchester Medical Center Foundation for the purpose of renaming the Turning Point Program to the Kyle Goldberg Turning Point Program in honor of Kyle. In addition, this pledge will include an ongoing commitment to partner with Westchester Medical Center on an educational seminar series focused on addiction and treatment topics facing the young adult population in the area.
Foundation Continues Holiday Outreach
As we have for the last 12 years, the Foundation tries to give back to those less fortunate during the holidays. This year Vicki Quackenbush donated scarves and hats she personally knit which were given to in patients at the Good Samaritan Hospital treatment facility. In addition, the Foundation gave gifts to the children of participants in the Rockland County Family Treatment Court. This gift giving originated from our association with the newly retired Judge William Warren, who headed the Treatment Court for many years, and whose daughter Emily was a very good friend of Kyle’s. The work by Good Sam and the Family Treatment Court is important and essential to the community.
Foundation Raises $10,000 During Run-Up To NYC Marathon
James Hostomsky, Amy Goldberg, and Ken Goldberg trained hard and all completed their first NYC Marathon on November 6, 2016. Working in partnership with a group from Westchester Medical Center, these three were able to leverage their donation pages to attract significant funds to be turned over to the pledge for the renaming of the Turning Point Facility in Poughkeepsie. Congratulations on behalf of the Foundation, and everyone looked great in their KGMF running gear.
Seminar on Opioid Addiction In Westchester County and the Hudson Valley
On October 27, 2016, the Foundation co-sponsored this educational seminar with WMC held at the Westchester Marriott in White Plains. This full day seminar featured speakers from the medical community, and panel of experts and affected individuals discussing the topic of opioid addiction, and a demonstration of the use of Narcan. All attendees who watched the demonstration and were able to duplicate the use were given a Narcan packet by the County Health team on site. Attendees also received course credit for the seminar.
Walk for Recovery at Rockland Lake State Park
On August 27, 2016 RCADD held a recovery 5K walk/run. Money was raised for RCADD in memory of Reid Schwartz who passed away of a drug overdose. His family was proud to be a part of this important event, held for the 9th year in a row. The Foundation donated money to support the race and the efforts of RCADD, and several friends of KGMF ran in the race as well. It was a beautiful day.
Kyle Goldberg Memorial Foundation Is Honored by RCADD
The Rockland Council on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependence (RCADD) honored the Kyle Goldberg Memorial Foundation and The Goldberg Family with their Annual Service Award. The event was held at the Patriot Hills Golf Course in Rockland County on April 14, 2016. The dinner and awards ceremony was attended by many friends of the Foundation who also donated money to RCADD and its programs. We were honored to accept this award and will continue to work with RCADD.