Thursday, April 12, 2007

Méta d'âme Announces New Housing Initiative for Methadone Patients in Montreal

National Alliance of Methadone Advocates
Press Release

Contact Persons:

Joycelyn Woods, President

Guy Pierre Levesque, Méta d'âme

For Release:
April 12, 2007

Méta d'âme NAMA’s affiliate in Montreal has announced a new housing project that will provide housing and peer services to methadone patients. Construction of a new building will begin in August with the building of 22 units that consisting of studio and 1-bedroom apartments. The building will have a green roof and community hall for meetings. Meta d'âme will own and manage the project with peer workers in collaboration with clinic referrals. Guy Pierre Lévesque spokesperson for Méta d'âme reports that the organization will also occupy half of the ground floor starting June 2008.

The housing project is named Promethéus (Promethe) from the Greek god. A favorite of Zeus Promethe was punisheed for disobedience because he stole fire from the gods and gave it to mortals for their use. This was the beginning of enlightenment for man. An appropriate name for the project Promethean refers to events or people of great creativity, intellect and boldness.

Also in the planning is a French International Methadone Conference and other medicated assisted treatment (MAT) for opiate dependency. Translations will be made available in English. Méta d'âme will be involved in the planning and also include peer-working at the conference. In addition to the conference Méta d'âme is involved in the development of a Canadian Methadone Association.

“It is possible to make things happened if we believe in what we do,” says Lévesque. Therefore it appears that the impetus of Méta d'âme is creating some important advances in Canada.

Monday, April 09, 2007


National Alliance of Methadone Advocates
Press Release

Joycelyn Woods MA-CMA (212) 595-NAMA/6262

For Release:
April 9, 2007

The Mount Sinai Hospital is planning to close the Narcotic Rehabilitation Center (NRC) a program with an international reputation for excellence in treating opiate addiction. After 37 years of providing rehabilitation services to Upper East Side residents afflicted with opiate addiction, Mount Sinai has determined that there is no longer any room for the program.

Even after accepting funds for the renovation of the facility from the New York State Office of Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) the hospital appears to be moving to quickly close NRC. In NRC’s place Mount Sinai is planning a multi-million dollar project that will include luxury high-rise apartments. It is difficult to comprehend Mount Sinai’s decision to eliminate a program that has been important to the local neighborhood. The situation could be easily averted since NRC can be easily relocated to the selected site that is renovated, licensed and ready to open. Therefore it is difficult to understand why Mt. Sinai can not find a way to keep these valuable services.

Has Mount Sinai Forgotten it’s Mission?

The National Alliance of Methadone Advocates (NAMA) has already begun to hear from fearful patients and their concerns about having to go to another program that they do not know. Certainly, patients will have to travel into other neighborhoods for treatment, change their schedules and develop new relationships with program staff. This creates stress for patients and their families. And now with fewer options to treatment in East Harlem any increases in drug use could easily develop into a public health crisis.

NRC that serves 700 patients has a international reputation for providing quality medicated assisted treatment and is known for having exceptional services. The programs that will have to take on the responsibility of accepting these patients do not have the services that NRC has developed over the years. Programs in Northern Manhattan are already operating close to capacity and certainly do not have room for large numbers of patients creating a carry over effect. If the 7 closest programs accepted 100 patients each the burden on them would be tremendous. Program staff already over worked and stressed will not be able to provide the level of care that they were providing. Therefore a large number of patients from an area with pockets of destitution will not be able to obtain the services that they need to change their lives. In addition to the 700 patients from NRC at least another 3500 patients will be affected by the closing of NRC.

The Harlem area and nearby neighborhoods will be impacted from the effects of the closing of NRC. The improvements that the Harlem area has experienced in the last decade will begin to deteriorate. Individuals seeking help for their opiate dependence will be turned away from local programs, a rarity in New York City. Crime in East Harlem will undoubtedly increase and spill into neighboring communities. The standard of living will be reduced for all as hospitals admissions increase and other public health indicators increase (i.e. HIV, overdose deaths, TB). Therefore the impact of NRC closing on the community and on the city is not insignificant.

NAMA urges Mount Sinai to re-think their decision and to continue with the decision to utilize the site that has been selected and is ready for the program to move into. Proceeding with the current decision to close NRC is an indication that the needs of community are not important in comparison to the new luxury high rise residents. NAMA believes that the patients of NRC and the East Harlem community deserve more from Mount Sinai and will make every effort to insure that the patients of NRC and the community are not forgotten. East Harlem is a vibrant community and the people deserve the right to have access to medicated assisted treatment within their community.