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March 15, 2023



NYC's Department of Health Funds The Structural Oversaturation of Manhattan's Most Vulnerable Community

New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DoHMH) declared racism a public health threat, and yet the DoHMH funds East Harlem's supervised injection site - located in the heart of an East Harlem education hub.

The supervised injection site - however well intentioned - attracts scores of drug buyers and drug users who actively conduct business in front of an East Harlem Pre-K. Why does the DoHMH fund a program that has such a profound psychological and safety impact on some of New York's most vulnerable families?  No child should be forced to navigate a situation gauntlet like this. They need a safe environment to safely direct their children to school.

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Harlem asks the Department of Health to live up to their resolution that recognizes the impact of structural oversaturation and systemic racism on the health of New Yorkers.

"That the NYC Health Department in consultation with relevant community organizations perform an anti-racism review of the NYC Health Code to identify any existing provisions that support systemic and structural racism and bias and recommend new provisions to dismantle systemic and structural racism and bias"

-- NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

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Heroin Was Discovered During the Search for a Less Addictive Option to Opium?

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Check out the Facts Machine explainer by clicking the image, above, or the black button below.

If you'd like a simplified, history of heroin, the following is from Molecules that Amaze Us. (2014):

Heroin is made by acetylating both the –OH groups of morphine, a synthesis first achieved by Charles Romley Alder Wright at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington in 1874, but it was not until 1898 that Heinrich Dreser of the German Bayer company repeated this. To begin with, it was seen as a non-addictive morphine replacement in cough suppressant medicines, being given the name heroin because of its ‘heroic’ properties. This optimism was short-lived and sadly misplaced. Like codeine, heroin is a prodrug, being metabolized to morphine in the body. Replacing the OH groups in morphine by ester groups makes heroin less hydrophilic; as it is more lipid-soluble, it crosses the blood–brain barrier more readily, so that heroin supplies morphine to the brain faster.In many parts of the world, heroin is used by doctors as a way of administering morphine, not least to the terminally ill, though they call it by its medical name of diamorphine (short for diacetylmorphine) so as not to worry the patients! However, an overdose of heroin often proves fatal.

The drug was given the name heroin because of its ‘heroic’ properties


Recommendations Regarding Supervised Injection Sites

1. End the Harlem Containment Zone: Unless supervised injection sites are spread out widely in NYC, the sites located in communities of color become magnets that attract drug dealers and users.  We demand that supervised injection sites be located in all neighborhoods - starting with whiter and wealthier communities. 

2. Impose Zoning Restrictions:  Injection sites should never be placed within 500 feet of schools

3. Address Open Air Drug Dealing:  Increase efforts to arrest drug dealers and breakup open-air drug scene. Create and use Dissuasion Committees to push people suffering from substance use disorder into treatment

4. Formalize Community Engagement: Supervised injection sites should be tasked with accounting for any impact on their host community before and during operation 

5. Enforce Standardized Data Collection: Publish injection site usage data to confirm sites are used by local residents and not attracting non-local users.  Use this data to also measure success in helping patients transition treatment and recovery

6. Add More Addiction Treatment Programs in Treatment Deserts: Every NYC community district needs local prevention, treatment, & harm reduction services. Currently, 36 out of 64 NYC assembly districts have no treatment programs whatsoever


If You Want Change In Harlem, Be The Change

The dates are out!

The New York Primary election date is June 27. Early Voting starts June 17 and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is June 12.

Remember to ask your neighbors if they're going to come out to vote, and make a plan to coordinate. Talk to them about the issues. Let's get activated. Let's vote!

Another important way to drive change in Harlem is to Join The County Committee, which gives you access to elected officials and allows you to select the Democratic Party nominee for Harlem when there is a special election - which happens when an official vacates their seats before their term ends

Each year, many seats are unfilled and so we need your civic engagement to help Harlem. 

Any registered Democrat who resides in Central or East Harlem can apply. To apply, please fill out this form as soon as possible.

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Little work is involved in joining the county committee but you can make big impact. To join, you only need to collect 30+ signatures from your neighbors who are registered Democrats. 

After you join County Committee, you have no obligation to do anything except you have the OPTION to join events and vote. To find out more, you can view this webpage.

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