The Space at Tompkins Presents: Gratitude with Attitude!

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The Space At Tompkins would like you to join us for an evening of Gratitude with Attitude!

Featuring musical performances by Girl to Gorilla and the Bushwick Gospel Singers and special guests!

Sunday, November 3 from 2:00 to 4:40 pm

For snacks, drinks and music.

Beer sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Otto’s Shrunken Head
538 E 14th St Manhattan, NY 10009
(Between Ave. A and Ave. B)
(212) 228-2240

Tickets: $10 Suggested donation

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The 2012 Bi-Annual PDSE Harm Reduction Conference

 

I attended and participated in my first conference ever last Friday May 4th and had a blast!! We had been working on it for the last three months and it was worth every second of every meeting every single week! Of course we cannot take all the credit because we were just a small part of the whole thing. The Harm Reduction Coalition and the Peer Network along with the Aids Institute and several other awesome organizations deserve our praise too. This was the second PDSE conference to be put on and the first was in 2010. That actually brought about the Peer Network which is a collection of peers from all of the different drop-ins and syringe exchanges. The 2012 conference was an all day event from 9am to 5pm and then an after party from 6pm to 8pm. I honestly was worried I would be bored and tired and want to leave halfway through the day but I never even thought about it once !  It was a bit hot so I needed a few short outdoor air breaks but I stayed the entire day and seriously stayed afterwards hanging out in front of the church where it was held!
 

The theme was the past, present, and future of PDSE and the Peer Network. Hiawatha Collins was the MC, Terrell Jones was the host for the past, Liam Gibson was the host for the present, and I was the host for the future. And I DO NOT LIKE PUBLIC SPEAKING!! But they asked me and I agreed because I really believe in the cause and I know that I need to get over my fear especially since I am back in college now. It went great though and I am so glad that I did it! We also put on a 5 minute skit about overdose prevention and from the audience response I would have to say it was a great success! The idea for the skit was from a fellow peer from Users United named Louie Jones. Ian Jernigan and I wrote the actual skit with some outside help from Ty Webster, a good friend of The Space. I was the director while Andrea Stella was the peer on outreach and Ian Jernigan, Kathryn Villaverde, and Cindy Gindin were users. Eric Dorris was the one who overdosed right after being released from Rikers and Manny Gonzalez was our EMT. Everyone was AWESOME and I am so proud to have been a part of it!!
 

During the conference we heard from a number of important players in the harm reduction community. I learned how PDSE came to be and where we hope it will be in several years. Evan Goldstein spoke about the Good Samaritan Law which is such a wonderful law that protects those who call 911 during an overdose from being charged with possession of narcotics, which is the main reason people do not call. Moshey Moses, Terell Jones, and our own Andrea Stella about how they each began as a peer and moved on to a career in the harm reduction industry. I could go on for pages about everything I learned and those who spoke but I will just say this…thank you to EVERYONE that had a part in the 2012 Bi-Annual PDSE Harm Reduction Conference and especially to Narelle Ellendon from HRCo and to Anika Archip who was the event coordiantor that made sure EVERYTHING ran smoothly!! It truly was a memorable experience and I am already excited to help with the next one in 2014!
 

Join Us: VOCAL Meeting with OASAS

On Thursday January 12 at 9am members of VOCAL and other methadone maintenance clients are gathering to meet with OASAS to try and come to an agreement with changes that need to be made at OTP, opiate treatment programs. VOCAL is a wonderful group made up of many people that have either have a history of drug use, are currently still using or know someone that is, or just care about the rights of those who cannot advocate for themselves. OASAS oversees all of the methadone clinics in New York State and are the only ones with the power to make any changes.

 

The two groups have had several meetings with each other about the findings of a survey that VOCAL took at various OTPs throughout the NYS area with 502 clients. This survey asked various questions regarding the care given by their clinic including how respectful they were treated by the staff and what kind of medical treatment was available. On top of the fact that more clinics are needed upstate and in Staten Island, the most important findings were significant problems with hepatitis C (HCV), bupenorphine, overdose prevention and the need for harm reduction and access to clean syringes. 87% of those interviewed said they would like a syringe exchange in their clinic. The most serious of these is the need for HCV testing, treatment and information. Most people are tested initially but are not given their viral load when found positive and they do not know to ask for it. This is very important because you may test positive but have a viral load too low to be detected or your load may be so high that immediate treatment is necessary. HCV is so widespread that approximately 75-90% of people on methadone programs are infected. So naturally the two should go hand in hand.

 

If you are on methadone or are interested, please join us at this meeting:

 
Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 9:00am

501 7th Avenue, 8th Floor (between 37th & 38th Street)

 

It starts at 9am and ends around 11:30am. It will include video conferencing from members in Albany that cannot make it to NYC.

 

 

Ukrainian Women struggle with drug use and HIV in “BALKA”

I attended a screening of BALKA:Three Stories at the Open Society Institute last week and was surprised to learn how much New York has in common with the former Soviet Republic. When it comes to social stigma and marginalization, the lives profiled in this documentary resemble many of those we encounter in the lower east side every week.

But the film was less about sweeping societal trends and more about the individuals that find themselves infected with HIV after injection drug use. They react to the news in unique ways and the film meets them at different points in their journeys as they take control of their future with the help of limited local services and in the face of conservative male companions and a repressive society.

Follow their facebook page for news and future screenings.

Valentines Day Inebration

On Valentines Day I joined Ian on a trip out to Greenpoint to check out a show at the Matchless Bar. The event titled ‘Valentines Day Inebration’ was a nice break from the regular Valentines Day atmosphere. In lieu of my thesis, I’ve been working on making it out to different shows to study our particular demographic and their culture. While a work in progress, the thesis is a holistic study of the transient community, their culture, and their historical presence in NYC. I’m particularly interested in studying the transient community in regard to the music typically associated with their culture.

Yet, with the plethora of sub-genres of punk and metal its hard to pigeon-hole a defining sub-genre as inherently “transient.” As someone pretty naïve to the scene, I had thought of Crust Punk as a cornerstone of the whole Crustie population, and therefore the transient population. The show we attended was pretty metal, and didn’t have much of the political aspects intrinsic to Crust punk. Bands in attendance included The Mortals, an all girls thrash metal band, Florida natives the Fatals, NYC locals Wizandry, and The Trowels from Philly. The bands presented a pretty heavy metal sound in the small show room that was well attended.

It definitely proved to be quite an interesting event. Ian was actually able to get me an interview with a member from the 90’s punk band L.E.S. Stitches that definitely helped provide context to the whole scene. As I continue to work on the thesis I’m sure to give more updates. Check out some of the bands websites below and stay posted!

-Joel

The Trowels
Mortals
Fatal