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August 9, 2023



But Continues to Withhold Zip Code Residence Data

OnPoint - the nation's first supervised injection site - released preliminary data on their clients and services.

Does the Zip Code residence data show that OnPoint is serving Harlem and East Harlem neighbors in need, or is OnPoint attracting people struggling with addiction from throughout New York City and the NY region, to Harlem?

We await more conclusive and thorough data (including Zip Code of residence) based on the OnPoint intake form.


Ill-Suited Destinations For People Experiencing a Mental Health Crisis

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It’s hard to imagine a less therapeutic environment for a person in crisis than an emergency department: crowded and windowless rooms; harsh fluorescent lights; the ceaseless ping of alarm. And yet, for every eight patients who present at an emergency department, one is there for a behavioral crisis such as psychosis, suicidality, mania, aggression, or substance use. 

Often these conditions have a years-long history and can’t be treated quickly or straightforwardly, in the way that a broken bone or a knife wound might be. In some cases, showing up at an E.R. can make things worse; patients who pose a danger to themselves or others may be sedated or kept in isolation, even tethered to bedside rails so that they cannot move. 

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Until the nineteen-sixties, American hospitals did not have emergency departments as we think of them today. Physicians made house calls to provide urgent care, and, in hospitals, nurses and medical trainees staffed “accident rooms” where they treated physical traumas that resulted from falls, fights, car crashes, and other mishaps. If a senior doctor was required, one had to be summoned from elsewhere.  Only in the early seventies did the American Medical Association recognized emergency medicine as a specialty of its own. It is now the fifth largest, based on the number of trainees who choose it.

For more than a decade, mental-health and substance-use emergencies have been surging, especially among young people. Between 2007 and 2020, the share of emergency-department visits for mental-health reasons in the U.S. nearly doubled, and the pandemic has only worsened this trend.

Because emergency rooms focus on things like accidents, infections, and heart problems, they are ill-suited for psychiatric crises and few emergency physicians are trained to provide mental-health treatment. In a typical E.R., a person experiencing hallucinations, aggression, or psychosis might be evaluated by clinicians looking for a medical cause for his symptoms. Maybe he has an infection, an overactive thyroid, or a medication with psychoactive side effects. Only once these potential causes have been ruled out might the patient see a mental-health practitioner, if one is available. He might then be deemed safe for discharge—or, if doctors think he presents an immediate danger to himself or others, he might be forced to stay. Sometimes, he might wait for days, even weeks, until a bed opens up in a nearby psychiatric facility.


Providing Free Birth Control and Overdose Prevention Products

Brownsville, Brooklyn received a new blue vending device on the corner of Decatur Street and Broadway that is stocked with naloxone kits, fentanyl test strips, birth control packs and baggies containing crack pipes for smoking of substances like crack cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. 

And it’s all free after users enter their zip code and make a selection.

The outdoor vending machine is the first of a program to offer free, 24/7 access to use equipment, as well as resources and information.

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NYC's Department of Health and Mental Hygene noted that it's “...more than just a vending machine – it’s a gateway to services and support and recovery.” DoHMH is partnering with Services for the UnderServed for this and three more machines, scheduled to be installed in other areas hard-hit by drug use and overdose deaths.

Each vending machine costs approximately $11,000.

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