͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ 
Is this email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
Greater Harlem Coalition Logo

July 12, 2023



Why Are Black New Yorkers Not Being Prescribed or Using Life Saving Addiction Medication?

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that only 12.7 percent of Black patients received any buprenorphine - a synthetic opioid used to treat opioid addiction - in the six months after a precipitating event, compared with 18.7 percent of Latino patients and 23.3 percent of white patients.  Not only that, Black patients also were prescribed fewer days worth of buprenorphine and then subsequently didn't stay with the regimen as long as Latino and white patients.

“There are two mechanisms left that could explain disparities this large. One is where people of color get their health care, which we know is highly segregated, and another is racial differences in patient trust and demand for buprenorphine.“

The large study looked at prescriptions for medically assistive treatment between 2016 and 2019, finding that only 20 percent of patients diagnosed with opioid use disorder filled prescriptions for buprenorphine, the medication considered the gold standard in opioid addiction treatment, despite repeated visits to health care providers, according to the study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine

Within six months following a high-risk event like an overdose, white patients filled buprenorphine prescriptions up to 80 percent more often than Black patients, and up to 25 percent more often than Latino patients, the study found. 

Rates of use for methadone, another effective treatment, were generally even lower.

“It was disheartening to see that buprenorphine or methadone treatments were so low, even among patients who just left the hospital with an overdose or other addiction-related issue,” said Dr. Michael L. Barnett, the lead author, who teaches health policy and management at Harvard. “And not only that, but people of color received lifesaving treatment at a fraction of the rate that white patients did.”


The Overwhelming Majority of Overdose Deaths Occur in in The Home

Image description


Progressive Bellingham, WA Recriminalizes Public Drug Use

Image description

The NY Post reports on how a progressive city in Washington State - Bellingham, WA - has been rocked by rampant public drug use and overdose deaths, including the overdose death of a 5-year old. 

“I would consider myself a progressive person, but there just are a lot of laws and things that I don’t think work properly,” he said.

City officials approved an ordinance on April 10, making it a crime to “inject, ingest or inhale” hard drugs in public — a departure from the state law passed two years ago that did the opposite and decriminalized drug possession.

The city council’s decision to get tougher on drugs was spurred in part by the death of the 5-year-old girl — which led to the arrest of her parents and another person, who have all since been charged with murder — and the overdose deaths of two local teens.

A Catholic Response to the Community Harm In Harm Reduction

In an essay written before the current explosion of overdose fentanyl-linked deaths pressed civic leaders to double-down on harm reduction, Philadelphia's former (and infamously conservative) Archbishop Chaput weighed in on the injection site approach and the long record of North America's first injection site location in Vancouver, Canada.

Chaput highlighted that public drug injection and dirty needles continue to be seen in the streets adjacent to the Vancouver injection site. He also approached the community impact issue by noting that residents still feel “a sense of lawlessness” reinforced by the criminal activities often required to secure illegal drugs.

Chaput noted how injection site operators repeatedly fail to practice 'Community Harm Reduction' stating that:

"...safe injection sites disregard others deeply wounded by substance abuse. Communities are scarred by the presence of a facility that normalizes illicit narcotics."

Lastly, Chaput reminds us all that narcotics - whether consumed in an injection site or on the street - supports and funnels profits to ruthless drug cartels that thrive through forced labor, destablilizing democratic structures, and engaging in violent crime for profit. 

"Since its opening in 2003, some 3.6 million clients have self-injected at the Vancouver-based site, yet only 48,798 (or 1.35 percent) have received any kind of addiction treatment."

If you want to unsubscribe, click here.