hands-in huddle

Harm Reduction Office Hours

An opportunity for addiction providers & partners to share information on harm reduction successes & lessons learned.

Overview

The Harm Reduction Office Hours series offers a unique opportunity for addiction providers and partners from across New York State to come together to highlight specific harm reduction efforts and share information on harm reduction successes and lessons learned.

These monthly discussions are held on the fourth Thursday of every month at the same time and WebEx link (below) and are hosted by OASAS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kelly S. Ramsey unless otherwise noted. Select Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are offered for participating.

 

Upcoming Office Hours

October 27, 2022, 2:00-3:30 pm

 

— Check back soon. Additional details will be posted here —

Topics

This Office Hours series will explore a variety of topics and themes. Have a suggestion for a harm reduction topic to discuss at a future meeting? Please send your suggestion to the Chief of Medical Services.

 

Past meeting topics included:

  • The Harm Reduction Webinar Series
    •  1. The History of Harm Reduction (5/5/22)
    •  2. Harm Reduction Informed Substance Use Treatment (5/12/22)
    •  3. Harm Reduction Strategies to Decrease Overdose Risk (5/19/22)
    • 4. Motivational Interviewing and Harm Reduction Panel (5/26/22)
  • Intro to Office Hours 6/16/22)
  • Overdose Detection Mapping ODMAP Application Program (7/28/22)
  • Harm Reduction and the Criminal Justice System (8/25/22)
  • Harm Reduction in Opioid Treatment Programs (9/22/22)

 

Watch Meetings

Webinar #1: The History of Harm Reduction

Presented by Maia Szalavitz

 
Meeting Materials

 


Webinar #2: Harm Reduction Informed Substance Use Treatment: Why is it Essential to Success and What Do We Do?

Presented by Andrew Tatarsky, PhD, Founder and Director of The Center for Optimal Living


 

Meeting Materials

 


Webinar #3: Harm Reduction Strategies to Decrease Overdose Risk: The Evidence with

Presented by Kelly S. Ramsey, MD, OASAS Chief Medical Officer

 

Meeting Materials

 

 


Webinar #4: Motivational Interviewing and Harm Reduction: A New Look at an Old Friend Panel Discussion

 

Panelists:

  • Pat Lincourt, LCSW, OASAS Associate Commissioner, Addiction Treatment and Recovery
  • Joseph R. Turner, JD, Co-Founder/President/ CEO of Exponents
  • Dr. Delores Blackwell, Director of OASAS Services, Housing Works
  • Luis Laboy, MSW, MPA, Behavioral Health Manager, Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center and Chairperson for the Bronx Council on Alcohol and Substance Use
  • Melissa Rios, LCSW, Exponents
  • James Hollywood, LCSW, Vice President of Residential Treatment, Samaritan Daytop Village Andrea Fallick, LCSW-R, MS, Director of School Based Programs, Student Assistance Services Brigette Hartman-DeCenzo, LCSW, OASAS Director, Division of Prevention and Problem Gambling Services
→ View Panelist Bios

 

Meeting Materials

 


Intro to Office Hours

Panelists:

  • Joe Turner, JD, Co-Founder/President/CEO of Exponents
  • Melissa Rios, LCSW, and Samantha Lopez, EVP/COO, of Exponents
  • Justine Waldman, MD, CEO/CMO of Reach Medical in Ithaca;
  • Saeeda L. Dunston, Executive Director, Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities, Inc.

→ View Panelist Bios

 


Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program

The goals of the presentation: 1) Provide a detailed overview of ODMAP, highlighting the systems analytics; 2) describe the spike alert system built into ODMAP and highlight how that process benefits community level response strategies; 3) provide an overview of best practices and use cases; and 4) discuss statewide implementation strategies (currently 26 states have adopted an implementation strategy – NYS could be number 27). States that have adopted a statewide implementation strategy, are better able to provide a robust overdose dataset that local agencies can use for overdose response and strategic planning. 

Panelists:

  • Robert A. Kent, JD, General Counsel of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
  • Thomas H. Carr, Executive Director of the ONDCP’s Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program
  • Jeff Beeson, Deputy Director of the ONDCP’s Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program
  • Rita Noonan, PhD, Branch Chief, CDC’s Division of Overdose Prevention
  • Lisa Worden, Program Analyst, Oneida County Health Department
  • Ermelindo Laracuente, Jr., a Drug Intelligence Officer for NY/NJ HIDTA and assigned currently to the Mohawk Valley Crime Analysis Center in Utica, NY
→ View Panelist Bios

 

Meeting Materials
 

Harm Reduction and the Criminal Justice System: Supporting Persons with SUD Who Are Involved in the Criminal Justice System

Panelists:

  • Steve Hanson, OASAS Associate Commissioner for Courts and Criminal Justice
  • Pat Lincourt, OASAS Associate Commissioner for Treatment and Recovery
  • Delores Blackwell, Director of OASAS Services, Housing Works
  • Murray Edwards, Program Director, Bowery Residents’ Committee (BRC)
  • JoAnne Page, President/CEO and Rob DeLeon, Senior Vice President, The Fortune Society
  • Erin Burke, Forensic Case Manager, Brooklyn TASC
  • Rashida Dunne, Peer Specialist, CASES

→ View Panelist Bios

 

Harm Reduction in Opioid Treatment Programs

Panelists:

  • Sara Lorenz Taki, MD, Medical Director, Greenwich House OTP 
  • Tolani Ajagbe, MD, FASAM, Medical Director, Crouse Health OTP
  • Stephanie Pagan, LMHC, C-DBT, Site Director, SATP Unit 1, Montefiore Medical Center 
  • Marcia Duncan, CASAC II, Helio Health
  • Lesley Puryear, OASAS SOTA
  • Pat Lincourt, OASAS Associate Commissioner of ATAR
  • Pamela Mund, OASAS Associate Chief of Addiction Medicine
  • Gregory James, OASAS New York State Addiction Medicine Advisor/Office of New York SOTA
  • Celyn Ng, MPHarm, MPH, OASAS Project Manager Bureau of Adult Treatment Services and Mary Brewster, OASAS Associate Commissioner of the Division of Harm Reduction
→ View Panelist Bios

 

Credentialing Credit

OASAS will be offering 1.5 clock-hour credit for CASAC, CPP/CPS, and Social Work CEUs for each webinar attended.

To receive credit, follow the steps below to take the quiz associated with the webinar you watched. 

  • Go to https://answerkey.net/oasas/
  • Log on with your Username and Password (If you do not have an account, you can create one)
  • Scroll down to Harm Reduction
  • Find the training Harm Reduction Office Hours 
  • Take the quiz and Survey Monkey, if prompted
  • Log off, then back on
  • Follow the same directions as above
  • Scroll down to Harm Reduction
  • Find the training Harm Reduction Office Hours 
  • Click on Get Certificate

Panelist Bios

Harm Reduction Webinar Series #1 - Panelist Bio

Maia Szalavitz is the author, most recently, of Undoing Drugs:  The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction, which is the first history of the movement to focus drug policy on minimizing harms, not highs. She is also contributing opinion writer for the New York Times.

Her previous New York Times bestseller, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction wove together neuroscience and social science with her personal experience of heroin addiction.  It won the 2018 media award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Her 2006 book, Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids, was the first to expose the damage caused by “tough love” youth treatment and helped spur Congressional hearings.

She has also authored or co-authored five other books, including the classic on child trauma, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, and has written for numerous publications including TIME, Wired, and Scientific American.  She lives with her husband and two squeaky cats in New York City.

 

Harm Reduction Webinar Series #2  - Panelist Bio

Andrew Tatarsky has worked with people who use drugs and their families for over 40 years. Andrew developed Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy (IHRP) for treating the spectrum of risky and addictive behavior as an alternative to traditional abstinence-only substance use treatment. IHRP brings relational psychoanalysis, CBT and mindfulness together in a harm reduction frame. IHRP meets people where ever they are on their positive change journeys and works collaboratively to support people in discovering their truth and what goals and approach to positive change best suit them. The therapy has been described in his book, Harm Reduction Psychotherapy: A New Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Problems, and a series of papers. He is Founder and Director of the Center for Optimal Living in NYC, a treatment, education and professional training center based on IHRP. His writing, teaching, clinical work and leadership aim to promote a re-humanized view of problematic substance use and a harm reduction continuum of care that will extend help to everyone who needs and wants it where ever they are ready to begin their positive change journeys.

 

Harm Reduction Webinar Series #3  - Presenter Bio

Meet Dr. Kelly S. Ramsey, Chief of Medical Services

 

Harm Reduction Webinar Series #4  - Panelist Bios

Joe Turner is the co-founder and current CEO of Exponents, a 30-year-old community based human services and harm reduction program in NYC.  Exponents provides compassionate and person-centered drug treatment, recovery and wellness services to the most vulnerable New Yorkers.  Since its founding in 1988, over 11,000 program graduates have completed its programs-many of whom are in management positions of nonprofit agencies.  At Exponents, “…we meet people where they are, but we don’t leave them there!”

Joe was born and raised in Brownsville, (never ran…never will) Brooklyn, NY. He attended Long Island University. Inspired by the courage of civil rights lawyers, he attended and graduated from Hofstra University School of Law, where he went on to practice law in the fields of criminal justice, civil rights, and general practice. He has worked for the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Community Action for Legal Services.  For the past 35 years, he has soldiered for social justice, compassionate human services, and recovery.

As CEO, Joe led Exponents through the disruption of COVID-19, enabling the agency to continue to provide drug treatment and crisis management services without interruption. Quickly turning to tele-health and tele-visual individual and group counseling sessions, as well as establishing a 24-hour crisis hotline, Exponents retained over 95% of its program participants.   Joe has often said that “…every crisis shines a bright light on our strengths and weaknesses.”  Indeed, the strength of Exponents that was gleaned from the COVID-19 crisis, was the forging of a “community of hope.”

He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Exodus Transitional Communities, co-chair of the Harm Reduction Committee of the ASAP of NYS, a member of the New York Certification Board, and the Executive Committee of the NYS OASAS Recovery Implementation Team. In addition, Joe is the co-chair of the New York State Harm Reduction Association, as well as the former president of President of the Board of Directors of Friends of Recovery –NY (FOR-NY).

 

Dr. Delores Blackwell is a multijurisdictional licensed clinical social worker, a master addiction counselor, a certified trauma professional and a certified compassion fatigue professional and holds multiple certifications. She has held numerous administrative and clinical positions within both the addictions and mental health disciplines. She is currently the Director of OASAS Services at Housing Works. She is also an adjunct professor at both Touro College and at Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work where she teaches advanced clinical courses and the practice lab.

She is a speaker who has presented nationally and internationally on issues such as Anger Management, Trauma therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Intimate Partner Violence, Mandated treatment, Clinician Self-care, and work with Women offenders. Dr Blackwell also sits on the editorial boards of both national and international Journals of Social work. Dr Blackwell has also been published with her work on Coercion and Women offenders and work with Mandated clients. Also, in conjunction with her numerous roles she also conducts and develops trainings for both mental health and addictions professionals in both direct practice and leadership positions and is educational training provider with OASAS on such areas as Harm Reduction, Cultural Diversity, Clinical Supervision and TGNCNB Cultural Competency.

 

Luis Laboy is an Experienced Behavioral Health Manager with expertise in program operations, admissions, recruitment, service delivery, utilization review and regulatory compliance. A bronxite with a strong passion to help the vulnerable marginalized individuals. He has a Master of Social Work from Fordham University. Master’s in public administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is Master Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor, and OASAS Certified Education and Training Provider, a Certified Recovery Peer Advocate, Chairperson for the Bronx Council on Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders and a member of the NYS Alumni Association and member of the Bronx Opioid Impact Collaborative.

 

Melissa Rios: I am a licensed psychotherapist and addiction specialist with over 20 years of experience helping others. As a therapist, I believe that all people have innate resilience and numerous personal strengths and abilities. I also believe it’s natural for people to feel vulnerable at times. In my work, I have found that providing a safe environment and being non-judge mental are the keys to a successful therapeutic alliance. I have helped individuals focus on self-awareness and the identification and achievement of self-directed goals.
I also have extensive knowledge and experience in providing gender affirmative therapies and trauma informed services for women and families. I draw upon my extensive knowledge in education, psychology, and clinical practice by utilizing a variety of therapies and modalities.
I have successfully helped individuals of all ages build effective coping skills to deal with life’s challenges.

 

James Hollywood, LCSW, is Vice President of Residential Treatment and oversees the organization’s 12 residential substance use treatment programs with 830 beds and serving 3,000 clients each year. Mr. Hollywood brings more than 30 years of experience working in the fields of substance use, mental health, and homeless services. In his previous role as Assistant Vice President, Mr. Hollywood worked to develop skills among the treatment staff in delivering motivational interviewing and cognitive behavior-based therapies. He also worked on the expansion of Samaritan Daytop Village’s use of medically assisted recovery and withdrawal management. In 2013, Hollywood was honored with the Commissioner’s Service Award for Treatment by the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services. Before joining Samaritan, Mr. Hollywood worked at Palladia, a New York City-based social service agency, where he successfully implemented enhancements to address co-occurring mental health and substance use. Mr. Hollywood helped develop "Let's Get Organized," a program to help clients improve organization and time management skills to facilitate successful re-entry into community life. This intervention was recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as an innovative practice.

Andrea Fallick is an LCSW-R, a CASAC Master Counselor, a CPP, and has a MS in Rehabilitation Counseling.  She is currently the Director of School Based Programs at Student Assistance Services Corporation (SAS), responsible for overseeing the prevention counseling and programming in over 40 schools throughout Westchester County.  Andrea is responsible for the agency’s compliance with all NYS OASAS regulations, policies and procedures and oversees the provision of CEU’s for licensed Social Workers, LMHC’s, and LMHTs. She is part of the SAS Planned Intervention Services for families concerned about their adolescent and young adult children’s substance use and has extensive training in CRAFT.

Prior to joining SAS, Andrea was the Director of an OASAS licensed Substance Use and Family and Adolescent Treatment Program in Nassau County, Yours Ours, Mine Community Center (YOM) with a capacity to treat 230 patients.  She was responsible for overseeing all clinic operations, clinical supervision, admissions, case disposition, and treatment.

 

Intro to HR Office Hours Panelist Bios

Joe Turner is the co-founder and current CEO of Exponents, a 30-year-old community based human services and harm reduction program in NYC.  Exponents provides compassionate and person-centered drug treatment, recovery and wellness services to the most vulnerable New Yorkers.  Since its founding in 1988, over 11,000 program graduates have completed its programs-many of whom are in management positions of nonprofit agencies.  At Exponents, “…we meet people where they are, but we don’t leave them there!”

Joe was born and raised in Brownsville, (never ran…never will) Brooklyn, NY. He attended Long Island University. Inspired by the courage of civil rights lawyers, he attended and graduated from Hofstra University School of Law, where he went on to practice law in the fields of criminal justice, civil rights, and general practice. He has worked for the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Community Action for Legal Services.  For the past 35 years, he has soldiered for social justice, compassionate human services, and recovery.

As CEO, Joe led Exponents through the disruption of COVID-19, enabling the agency to continue to provide drug treatment and crisis management services without interruption. Quickly turning to tele-health and tele-visual individual and group counseling sessions, as well as establishing a 24-hour crisis hotline, Exponents retained over 95% of its program participants.   Joe has often said that “…every crisis shines a bright light on our strengths and weaknesses.”  Indeed, the strength of Exponents that was gleaned from the COVID-19 crisis, was the forging of a “community of hope.”

He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Exodus Transitional Communities, co-chair of the Harm Reduction Committee of the ASAP of NYS, a member of the New York Certification Board, and the Executive Committee of the NYS OASAS Recovery Implementation Team. In addition, Joe is the co-chair of the New York State Harm Reduction Association, as well as the former president of President of the Board of Directors of Friends of Recovery –NY (FOR-NY).

 

Melissa Rios a licensed psychotherapist and addiction specialist with over 20 years of experience helping others. As a therapist, she believes that all people have innate resilience and numerous personal strengths and abilities. She also believes it’s natural for people to feel vulnerable at times. In her work, she has found that providing a safe environment and being non-judge mental are the keys to a successful therapeutic alliance. She has helped individuals focus on self-awareness and the identification and achievement of self-directed goals.

She also has extensive knowledge and experience in providing gender affirmative therapies and trauma informed services for women and families. She draws upon my extensive knowledge in education, psychology, and clinical practice by utilizing a variety of therapies and modalities.

She has successfully helped individuals of all ages build effective coping skills to deal with life’s challenges.

 

Samantha Lopez is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Exponents. Exponents is a non-profit community-based organization in lower Manhattan compassionately dedicated to serving those impacted by HIV/AIDS, substance use, the carceral system and behavioral health challenges.  The organization delivers those services through a client-centered strength-based approach which greatly improves health outcomes and promotes overall wellness in our communities.  Exponents is led and predominately staffed by persons of color and is a recovery community organization in the purest sense of the term, with the majority of staff having lived experience, many of whom are program graduates.

Ms. Lopez has been with the organization for over twenty years.  She currently oversees daily operations including programming development, facilities, education and workforce development training.  She integrated the service continuum which includes medically supervised outpatient substance use treatment with medication assisted treatment; harm reduction services; low threshold AOD counseling; HIV testing, education and linkage to PreP & PeP: re-entry services, prevention services, Hep C screening and community engagement.  She is responsible for all agency development activities and has secured and managed funding from SAMHSA, OASAS, BJA, CDC, HRSA, DOL and a range of private foundations. Ms. Lopez was instrumental in the development of and still leads Exponents’ Center for Personal and Professional development which provides CASAC, CRPA and Harm Reduction education and training services to those interested is entering or advancing in the behavioral health sector. 

In 2018, Ms. Lopez spearheaded all facets of the relocation of Exponents’ program site to a newly built out 37,000 square foot space overlooking Battery Park that includes a computer lab multiple large training spaces and a telecommunications systems that allows for most services to be conducted in a hybrid of on-site and remote provision.

Prior to coming to Exponents Ms. Lopez a graduate of New York University was a program coordinator at HIV Care services, a program of Public Health solutions where she managed a portfolio of over 30 Ryan White Title I.  She began working in the nonprofit sector as Assistant Director of Program Development for Elmhurst Hospital Center.  Ms. Lopez has also served on the Community Advisory Boards of two MHRA Projects, FITA and HIV CARE Services.

 

Justine Waldman is Board Certified in Addiction Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Since December of 2016, she has been providing Low Threshold Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT), Hepatitis C treatment and acute care to People Who Use Drugs at the Syringe Service Program (SSP) at the Southern Tier Aids Program in Ithaca, NY. She is currently the CEO and CMO of Reach (Respectful, Equitable Access to Compassionate Health) Medical in Ithaca, NY which opened in February of 2018. REACH houses a medical practice offering integrated primary care and low threshold harm reduction services for people who tend to face stigma in the current medical system. Reach Medical offers primary care, MAT, viral screening, vaccination and treatment and on demand behavioral health care. Since the Spring of 2020, REACH has been growing a robust outreach program staffed by individuals with lived experience who offer viral screening, vaccination and treatment, acute primary care and MAT visits via telehealth.  In addition, REACH is the administrative home for case management for the Ithaca Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program (LEAD).

REACH has an established Peer Advisory Board in which peers are provided stipends through a local foundation grant to advise REACH on various aspects of our organization, e.g., service delivery, and research.  REACH has an increasingly renowned Research Department steeped in bringing the REACH model to scale (PEW grant), and studying the outcomes that are being achieved in a rural health equity setting (HRSA grants).

 

Saeeda Lesley Dunston has served as the Executive Director at Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities, Inc. since August 2014.  She is recognized among her peers and human justice providers throughout New York State as having a wealth of programmatic, administrative knowledge in developing and implementing culturally competent programs and services –attributes significant in not only promoting transformative change within organizations where she was employed, but also, through her professional skills sets and empathetic and insightful understanding of the challenges encountered by marginalized communities, in empowering individuals and families to become change agents and engaged participants in their communities. 

Ms. Dunston has devoted her career to channeling and directing her commitment to service. Her unparalleled work ethic and laser-like ability to ascertain the bottom line to develop and implement strategies ensure that communities, most specifically communities of color, are provided with the tools to live productive, healthy and aspirational lives.

Prior to Elmcor, Ms. Dunston served in senior management positions in Brooklyn multi-service agencies and served several boroughs and citywide advocacy and policy focused coalitions that address poverty, anti-racism, human justice, health care needs of marginalized populations and communities throughout New York City. These experiences, mobilized and retrofitted at Elmcor, in developing and enhancing new and existing programs, such as the Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) Program, that provide exceptional learning and out-of-school time opportunities to youth to pursue post-secondary education and careers in STEM fields. 

She has expanded Elmcor’s works by launching Queen’s only Youth Recovery Clubhouse, large supermarket style food pantry, HIV testing & education programming in the Bronx & Harlem, new Older Adult Network in North Queens, Violence Prevention Enhancement Programming, 3k-4k preschool in South Jamaica Queens and mobile substance use disorder treatment unit providing medication-assisted care & counseling throughout the entire Borough of Queens; leveraging organizational resources  to address the prevailing socio-economic-health disparities that challenge Queens communities; and; promote inter- and intra-agency collaborations around issues of  behavioral health, health equity, social and economic justice, anti-stigma and community education. 

During the COVID19 Pandemic she worked closely within her area Congressional Representative to shepherd the concept of providing funeral benefits for those families impacted. Ms. Dunston has also been able to move forward on the vision for Elmcor to break ground on their supportive and senior affordable housing development in Corona.  

 

Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program Panelist Bios

Robert A. Kent is the General Counsel with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). In this role Mr. Kent provides overall legal support to all components of ONDCP.

Mr. Kent most recently served as the Vice President of Advocacy and General Counsel for the American Association of Orthodontists, a national healthcare organization. Prior to that he served as the General Counsel for the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS). In this role, Robert provided overall legal support, policy guidance, and direction to the OASAS Executive Office and all divisions of the agency. Robert led the OASAS efforts to implement New York State’s Heroin and Opioid Task Force recommendations, including the Combat Addiction/Heroin Campaign, the Federal Opioid Targeted Grant program, and Medicaid Redesign Team initiatives including implementation of historic legislation to increase access to treatment, including harm reduction services. Robert has co-authored articles on patient confidentiality and sober homes and has presented nationally and throughout New York State on the addiction system of care.

In 2011, Robert was recognized by the Caron Foundation with their Legal Professional Public Service Award. In 2013, Robert was recognized by the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies with their Leadership Award. In 2016, Robert was recognized by the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence with their Nyswander/Dole “Marie” award; the Long Island Recovery Association Friend of Recovery Award; and the Northern Tier Providers Coalition Public Service Award. In 2018, Robert was honored by the Friends of Recovery New York with the Charles Devlin Recovery Advocate Award and by Christopher’s Reason with the Outstanding Leader in the Recovery Community Award. In 2019, Robert was honored by NYAPRS with its Public Policy Leadership Award and by the MHANYS with their CEO Award. In 2020, Robert was honored by the NYS Justice Center with their Champion Award.

Mr. Kent is a graduate of the Syracuse University College of Law.

 

Thomas H. Carr is the Executive Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program, which he has held since 1994. He also serves as Executive Director of the George Mason University HIDTA Program and the Center for Drug Policy and Prevention at the University of Baltimore. In response to the nation’s opioid epidemic, Mr. Carr works with the Office of National Drug Control Policy and other HIDTA programs on the Overdose Response Strategy (ORS). This strategy resulted in creating a public health-public safety partnership supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the hiring of drug intelligence officers and public health analysts. This effort has led to the unprecedented sharing of overdose data among law enforcement and public health agencies.

Mr. Carr spearheaded the development of the Overdose Detection and Mapping Application Program (ODMAP), a real-time overdose syndromic surveillance system used to identify spikes in fatal and non-fatal overdoses. In July 2017, Mr. Carr and the ODMAP development team received the Special Achievement in GIS award from the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), an international supplier of geographic information system software. ODMAP is currently operating in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Mr. Carr was a Lt. Colonel with the Maryland State Police and retired as chief of the Bureau of Drug Enforcement. He graduated with honors from Towson University and was first in his class at the Maryland State Police Academy in 1971. He attended the FBI National Academy, the DEA Drug Commanders School, and the Federal Executive Institute.

 

Jeff Beeson serves as first deputy director and chief of staff for the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (W/B HIDTA) and the University of Baltimore’s Center for Drug Policy and Prevention (CDPP). His responsibilities include oversight of the administration of the HIDTA program, including the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP), the Overdose Response Strategy, training, and special projects designed to reduce the proliferation of drugs and violence in our communities. Mr. Beeson oversees grant acquisition, budget development and monitoring, and project performance managing relationships with a network that includes federal, state, and local government agencies as well as non-profit organizations.

Prior to joining the W/B HIDTA, Mr. Beeson served as assistant vice president for applied research at Towson University, overseeing a portfolio of federal and state grants and contracts supporting workforce and public safety initiatives. He was appointed to several positions within Maryland state government, including the Maryland Department of Public Safety, and began his career as a member of U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski’s staff. Mr. Beeson has a master’s degree in social sciences, with a focus in criminal justice. 

 

Rita Noonan, PhD: Areas of Expertise include drug overdose prevention strategies, Community-level drug overdose prevention, Dissemination and implementation science, Public health and public safety collaboration, Prevention programming and evaluation.

Rita Noonan, PhD, is a sociologist and branch chief in CDC’s Division of Overdose Prevention. Dr. Noonan and her staff oversee prevention and evaluation strategies that support CDC’s $1.2B program, Overdose Data to Action (OD2A). OD2A is designed to reduce drug overdose deaths and related harms in the United States by providing funding to 47 states and 16 large city/county health departments to improve public health surveillance, implement evidence-based prevention strategies, and shed light on emerging innovations in the field. Dr. Noonan also works closely with several High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs), overseeing the public health component of the Overdose Response Strategy, a national program she co-created to actively link public health and public safety efforts in every state, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Rita started her career 20 years ago in CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s (NCIPC) Division of Violence Prevention where she specialized in sexual and intimate partner violence prevention, program evaluation, and dissemination and implementation science. Prior to her arrival at CDC, Dr. Noonan was on faculty at the University of Iowa in the sociology department, serving as an expert in gender, Latin American studies, and social movements. Currently, she teaches graduate public health courses at both Emory University and Georgia State University. She has co-authored more than 40 scholarly publications across a broad range of violence and injury topics, including the “Interactive Systems Framework,” which is cited extensively among implementation scientists, and “Evidence-based Strategies for Preventing Opioid Overdose: What’s Working in the United States,” a seminal knowledge translation tool for community practitioners.

Dr. Noonan is the recipient of several prestigious awards including a Fulbright Scholarship, a MacArthur Fellowship, and dozens of NCIPC awards, including the 2017 Director’s Award and the NCIPC Excellence in Public Health Service Career Award in 2019. She received her PhD degree from Indiana University.

 

Lisa Worden is a Program Analyst, Oneida County Health Department, NY.  Lisa has been working in the field of public health for 24 years in community health planning,  public health emergency preparedness and coordination of various community health partnerships and initiatives.  Lisa is currently serving as one of the Project Coordinators of the County’s Opioid Task Force, the Coordinator for its Overdose Response Team, Street Engagement Team, Overdose Fatality Review Team and the BJA Partnership Grant Project Director. 

 

Ermelindo Laracuente, Jr. was a 32 year member of the New York State Police of which 15 years were assigned to the Narcotics Unit, Electronic Surveillance Unit, Computer Crime Unit (Crimes Against Children). Worked in Local Village Justice for over 3 years. Currently a Drug Intelligence Officer for NY/NJ HIDTA, assigned to a 3-county area of responsibility. Assigned to the Mohawk Valley Crime Analysis Center in Utica, NY serving as liaison between Law Enforcement and Public Health forging partnerships to create a strategy to reduce opioid overdoses and opioid related deaths.

 

Harm Reduction and the Criminal Justice System Panelist Bios:

Dr. Delores Blackwell is a multijurisdictional licensed clinical social worker, a master addiction counselor, a certified trauma professional and a certified compassion fatigue professional and holds multiple certifications. She has held numerous administrative and clinical positions within both the addictions and mental health disciplines. She is currently the Director of OASAS Services at Housing Works. She is also an adjunct professor at both Touro College and at Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work where she teaches advanced clinical courses and the practice lab.

She is a speaker who has presented nationally and internationally on issues such as Anger Management, Trauma therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Intimate Partner Violence, Mandated treatment, Clinician Self-care, and work with Women offenders. Dr Blackwell also sits on the editorial boards of both national and international Journals of Social work. Dr Blackwell has also been published with her work on Coercion and Women offenders and work with Mandated clients. Also, in conjunction with her numerous roles she also conducts and develops trainings for both mental health and addictions professionals in both direct practice and leadership positions and is educational training provider with OASAS on such areas as Harm Reduction, Cultural Diversity, Clinical Supervision and TGNCNB Cultural Competency.

 

Murray Edwards earned a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Antioch New England Graduate School.  He is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor, Master Counselor with a Gambling designation (CASAC-G). Murray  has been active in the treatment and addictions field since 1993 and currently serves as the Program Director for the Bowery Residents’ Committee’s outpatient program, The Fred Cooper Substance Abuse Service Center.

With over 25 years in the mental health field, Murray has vast experience and has worked in a variety of modalities including the Shelter system, Detox and Rehab, a hospital based day treatment program, a Parole Treatment program, a Residential Therapeutic Community and outpatient. Additionally, Murray  has been a guest Lecturer at Columbia School of Social Work and presented at conferences and symposiums. He has been the provider chair for the Manhattan Council for since 2016.

 

JoAnne Page has over 45 years’ experience in criminal justice, with the last 30+ of those years at the helm of The Fortune Society. Under Ms. Page’s stewardship, The Fortune Society has been recognized as a national leader in criminal justice advocacy and as a pioneer in assisting former prisoners to reintegrate into society. The organization offers more than a dozen programs including mental health and substance abuse treatment, counseling, family services, HIV/AIDS health services, alternative to incarceration and supervised release services, employment services, creative arts and housing. These innovative and successful initiatives have become models for similar programs across the country. Ms. Page is especially proud of the housing programs that she has developed. This includes the opening of the groundbreaking Fortune Academy in 2002, the nationally recognized emergency and transitional residence housing homeless formerly incarcerated individuals. Ms. Page took an abandoned drug den and turned it into a place of hope and understanding. In 2010, Fortune opened Castle Gardens, a certified LEED Gold, green, mixed affordable and supportive permanent housing development with 114 apartments and 20,000 square feet of service space. Fortune’s housing model is currently being replicated in Syracuse, NY.  In April, 2020, during the height of the COVID pandemic, Fortune opened Freedom House, a 38 bed emergency and transitional residence housing men with behavioral health issues who otherwise would have been incarcerated. In December, 2021 Fortune starting housing justice involved seniors as the permanent supportive housing provider in a senior’s residence in the Bronx. In January, 2022, Fortune purchased a building that was being used as an illegal hotel and will be converting it to permanent supportive and affordable housing, as well as having two other housing initiatives in the pipeline. A graduate of Yale Law School, JoAnne is a frequent speaker at conferences and presentations about criminal justice issues and services for justice -impacted individuals.

 

Rob DeLeon is a non-profit executive and advocate for criminal justice reform with over 18 years of experience. He is the Senior Vice President at The Fortune Society, an organization that provides individuals involved in the criminal justice system with wrap-around clinical and social services to support community reintegration. Fortune also does policy advocacy for legislation that will impact the people they serve.

Mr. DeLeon, is formerly incarcerated, he spent 10 years in prison beginning at age 17 at which time he was charged, and ultimately convicted as an adult. Since his release, Mr. DeLeon has leveraged his lived experience to become an active leader in juvenile and criminal justice reform initiatives.

As an advocate and spokesperson, Mr. DeLeon has supported and advised on many social justice issues, including prison and parole reform, fairness in policing practices, access to appropriate health care for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals, and youth and community justice. He has also collaborated with community partners, service providers and government stakeholders on a number of important initiatives including the roll out of Alternatives to Detention for juveniles in the Family Court system, Ban the Box, and Raise the Age.

 

Erin Burke is a New York native with a passion for criminal justice. In 2018, she graduated Farmingdale State College with a Bachelors in Applied Psychology while simultaneously working as the Vice President of Psi Chi, the secretary of Psych Club, and a member of Golden Key Honor Society. After graduation, Erin attended John Jay School of Criminal Justice and graduated in 2020 Magna Cum Laude with a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice. Erin has been working at Brooklyn TASC since the fall of 2021 and is applying her knowledge to real life applications as a Forensic Case Manager.

 

Rashida Dunne is a Peer Specialist for CASES Supervised Release Program's, Bronx location. Her journey began in 2014 when she enrolled in the Howie the Harp Peer Specialist training program and upon completion, became a Certified Peer Specialist in NYS. In January of 2016, Ms. Dunne joined the Pretrial team at CASES as its first Peer Specialist, enriching the quality of the program’s services. Rashida takes pride in connecting with her clients by way of their shared lived experiences and guiding them to available community supports and services that meet their needs. In July 2022, Rashida was promoted to the department’s first Opioid Overdose Prevention Coordinator to support the program’s efforts to provide harm reduction options to participants.

 

Harm Reduction in OTPs Panelist Bios

Dr. Sara Lorenz Taki is medical director of Greenwich House Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program, an opioid treatment program in Manhattan that provides treatment for approximately 1000 people with opioid use disorder.  She provides oversight for all health services, including medication management, hepatitis c treatment, overdose prevention, psychiatric services, and the Greenwich House COVID-19 vaccination program.

Dr. Taki completed her internal medicine residency in the Social Medicine Program at Montefiore Medical Center and she is board certified in addiction medicine.  Dr. Taki currently serves on the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute’s Substance Use Guidelines Committee and the Clinical Advisory Panel for OASAS.  She is a frequent speaker for the Empire Liver Foundation on hepatitis c treatment in people who use drugs.  Dr. Taki recently developed clinical internships for the Institute for Family Health’s addiction medicine fellowship program and physician assistant programs at CUNY and Touro.  Dr. Taki has special interest in the integration of harm reduction into opioid treatment programs, treatment of hepatitis c, women’s health, and creating low threshold treatment for patients with substance use disorders.

 

Tolani Ajagbe, MD, FASAM: Dr.  Ajagbe serves as the Chief of Psychiatry and Medical Director, Addiction Treatment Services at Crouse Health, Syracuse, New York. He is also the Division Chief of Addiction Psychiatry and Program Director,  Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Dr. Ajagbe earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.  He completed his residency training in General Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University and later completed a clinical fellowship in Addiction Psychiatry at the same institution. He is board certified in General Psychiatry,  Addiction Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine. Dr.  Ajagbe is a fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.

 

Stephanie Pagan, LMHC: Stephanie Pagan earned a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from CUNY’s City College of New York. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and identifies as a Latinx Native New Yorker. She oversees a Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program as Site Director within Montefiore Medical Center’s Substance Abuse Treatment Program (SATP), a substance use treatment program serving approximately 1,100 people with substance use disorders, and as the Program Director of SATP’s  Opioid Overdose Prevention Program.  She has worked in the mental health field since 2009, beginning her journey in residential treatment at YAI under OPWDD and later working in a variety of outpatient substance use modalities including outpatient detox, outpatient chemical dependency, and methadone maintenance.   Additionally, Stephanie has a focus on community organizing and social justice, serving on Montefiore Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and a variety of liberatory clinical peer groups.

 

Marcia Duncan has served as a counselor in Helio Health’s Opioid Treatment Program in Syracuse NY since 2018. Previously, she was a case manager in Helio Health’s Residential Services program. All told, she has nearly 15 years’ experience in the field of substance abuse and treatment.  Marcia is a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC II).  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology & Social Relations and a master’s degree in International Studies.