LIRA Newsletter 2016

Thursday, September 08, 2016

On Sunday, October 4, 2015, a bus full of LIRA advocates joined 25,000 others from around the country on the National Mall in Washington DC for a nationwide call to action. Among the crowd inspired by celebrity speakers including Dr. Oz were representatives of more than 700 organizational partners who were entertained by musicians including Cheryl Crow, Steven Tyler and Joe Walsh of the Eagles. This first ever nationwide gathering helped shine the spotlight on the number one public health crisis of our times, ADDICTION! The day before the annual FED-UP rally drew its biggest crowd ever and helped raise pressure on federal leaders to do more to address the opiate epidemic. On Monday October 5th hundreds of advocates descended on Capitol Hill for an advocacy day with legislative visits.

Back in the late summer of 2015, LIRA initiated a meeting with our friends from the Family & Children’s Association, FIST, and LICADD where an agreement was reached among the 4 non-profit groups to collaborate on a plan to bring a recovery center to Long Island. The response to a request for proposals was submitted under the FCA umbrella. The effort paid off when FCA was awarded one of 6 statewide grants recently announced by NY State OASAS. The 5-year grant totaling $1.75 million allows all of us to continue building on our work together with each organization playing a significant role.

A recovery center has been on the LIRA radar for several years, this is a big step forward in helping individuals and families to maintain recovery, navigate obstacles, and access needed resources. This is a huge victory for Long Island and many of you played an important role by remaining vocal, attending the state-wide OASAS recovery supports meetings and consistently identifying a center as a priority need for our area. In meeting after meeting with stakeholders, a center emerged as the number one need for Long Island based on input from individuals in recovery and family members. Congratulations for a job well done by our LI community and NY State OASAS.

Rock N Recovery VII Celebration
LIRA hosted our 7th Annual Rock N Recovery celebration at St. Peters Lutheran Church in Huntington Station in September 2015. A crowd of nearly 300 joined together to celebrate recovery with an evening of fine food, fun, and festivities with fabulous friends. Once again >$2,000.00 in prizes were given away with support from many sponsors.

LIRA presented two Friend of Recovery Awards to Jeff Reynolds, of Family & Children’s Association and Teri Kroll, of People United to Stop Heroin (PUSH). Jeff, a former LIRA board member, has been a vocal presence on the front lines of our advocacy campaign and his contributions to our collective progress have been significant. Teri is a relentless and committed family advocate who has dedicated her passionate work to the memory of her son, Tim, who passed way tragically from an overdose. We are thrilled to have “Tim’s Mom” on the Long Island team. Congratulations to these outstanding individuals and great advocates.

The LIRA board voted to present two separate recovery community scholarship awards of $500.00 each to Janine Sullivan, who has since become a Registered Nurse & Rose Marie Oliviero, who is continuing her education after graduating from Suffolk Community College Chemical Dependency Studies program. Congratulations to these outstanding women whom have also joined our bus rides to Albany and Washington DC. The cumulative total of our RCSA giving now stands at $6,500 since we started.

Once again many sponsors and supporters donated funds, prizes and resources and helped make our annual event possible at no cost. A huge thank you for all for the support! A complete list of donors is on the last page.

We would like to acknowledge the following individuals for their efforts, helping to make our annual event a huge success: Tina Bruzzo, Richard Buckman, Nicole Carey, Elsie Demers, Sue Ferraro, Claudia Friszell, Jeannie Gedeon, Tatiana Green, Edmond Hakimi, Bryant Kaplan, Eugenia Karahalias, Suzanne Loevner, Michelle Louzoun, Doreen Mazzei-Buckman, Rev Deb Nardozzi Ed Olsen, Joan Phillips, Anthony Rizzuto, Jean Shabkie-Fessenden, Bruce Till

Please join us this year on Friday September 30, 2016 as we celebrate National Recovery Month with our flagship celebration event. Make a donation!

LIRA is a partnering organization for the Long Island United 2nd Annual Walk for Hope & Recovery scheduled for Sunday, September 25, 2016, at Belmont Lake State Park. The inaugural event in 2015 drew nearly 1000 attendees! Please join us and support this great event. Register!

LIRA members Michele Louzoun, Richard Buckman, Edmond Hakim, Suzanne Loevner, Ed Olsen at LI United August 2015

Friends of Recovery New York (FOR-NY)
Now well-funded and fully staffed as a result of advocacy efforts, FOR-NY has increased its presence and impact statewide. Under the leadership of the board and Bob Lindsey with support from staff members Stephanie Campbell, Director of Policy, Susan Murphy, Communications Director, and our very own shining star! Nicole Carey, Long Island area consultant, FOR-NY once again hosted the annual statewide Recovery Advocacy Day in Albany in February 2016. This annual event was well attended by more than 200 advocates from across the state who gathered in support of ending discrimination, increasing treatment and expanding recovery opportunities.

Included in the annual gathering was a tribute to former FOR-NY Board President, Laura Elliot-Engel, who passed away in early November 2015. Laura was the founding board secretary and then long term President until her health forced her to step down shortly before her passing. LIRA remembers our dear friend as a compassion filled human being, staunch recovery advocate and a voice of reason in our complicated world. Laura was a valued ally, big LIRA supporter, who shared a common vision of seeing LIRA staffed and supported along with other regional recovery community organizations Statewide. We were all stunned about her untimely passing and miss her dearly. Light and Love. Rest Easy!

Former FOR-NY Board President Laura Elliot Engel left an indelible mark on recovery in New York State.

 LIRA & FOR-NY reps and Tracie Gardner (Office of Governor Cuomo’s Health Secretary) met to discuss budgetary priorities

Claudia Friszell representing Long Island addresses the attendees at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Albany.

Massive legislative changes occurred near the close of session in June 2016. Following a number of legislative panels and statewide hearings of the Senate, Assembly, and Governor’s Task Forces’ in which our folks across the state served as members, hearing participants, and speakers, providing oral and written testimony; Governor Cuomo, Senate Leader, John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie reached an historic agreement, to combat addiction in NY State.

These earth moving changes were made possible due to the cumulative grassroots advocacy building campaign across the state the last few years. Here on Long Island you should all be proud as we paved the way and developed the model for collaboration between individuals in recovery and their family members, families affected by the loss of a loved one or someone still struggling, the treatment provider and prevention networks, community coalitions and our local, county and state agencies. Together, we can move mountains and it appears, a State Capitol too.

These landmark bills will address a number of issues we have targeted by improving access to and the duration of treatment by eliminating pre-authorization requirements. In addition, concerns about prescriber education were addressed as there is now a mandate to include education specifically related to pain management, palliative care, and addiction for prescribers. All new opiate pain prescriptions are limited to a 7-day supply. There were other initiatives as well including funding more recovery centers and adolescent clubhouses, hiring recovery coaches, peers and family navigators, the creation of additional inpatient beds statewide and outpatient treatment slots. We thank the Governor and State Lawmakers and send a huge shout out to NYS OASAS for an outstanding effort across the board in responding to the needs identified by our constituency around the state.

There is still much to do including but not limited to the realization of a full treatment on demand system, a further increase in inpatient treatment beds, funding and support for recovery community organizations, recovery housing oversight and regulations, collegiate recovery programs and recovery high schools,

and the development of a coordinated peer support network to help fill the gaps in the treatment to recovery continuum, supporting sustained recovery. Still on the to do list is legislation giving treatment decision making authority to addiction professionals which will save countless lives and millions of dollars and eliminate both blatant and veiled discrimination that has gone on for far too long.

LIRA is committed to continuing our work with other groups, NY State OASAS and elected officials to further advance our pro- active approach to expand and illuminate pathways to long term recovery by bringing additional resources to bear.

 LIRA’s Richard Buckman, Elsie Demers, Nicole Carey at bill signing

LI Advocates Richard Buckman, Jeff Reynolds, Kym Laube and Linda Ventura, OASAS Commissioner Arlene Gonzalez Sanchez, Chief Counsel Robert Kent and Suffolk Police Commissioner Tim Sini with Governor Cuomo as he signs the addiction legislative package into law.

After a 3 year coordinated effort to advance this crucial federal legislation, the bill was passed with overwhelming support in the US House and Senate and then signed into law by President Obama this summer. This is the first major federal addiction legislation enacted in more than 40 years. This is a major milestone and speaks directly to the power of our communities of recovery nationwide. A major hurdle remains. We must now work with allies across the country to ensure the respective appropriation committees designate sufficient funding to allow the broad reaching bill to have a meaningful impact.

LIRA spearheaded the CARA campaign in New York State by meeting with and educating all 5 Long Island Congressional reps in addition to House Judiciary Committee member, Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn, and US Senators; Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand. As a direct result of our efforts, all agreed to be co-sponsors and supported CARA. Not only are we making our voices count locally and at the state level we are having an impact at the federal level too.

Our national recovery leader continues to set the tone organizing and mobilizing the recovery community across the country and now internationally too. ARCO: The Association of Recovery Community Organizations a Faces and Voices of Recovery initiative has 93 organizational members and another dozen or so in the application pipeline. This lifeline of recovery in America allows us to draw on a widespread and potent voice through instant outreach to all parts of the country during times of need. The annual ARCO Executive Leadership Academy was held once again in July and several LIRA members attended two days of workshops and cutting edge presentations with national leaders. All attendees were provided with complimentary tickets to the Annual Faces & Voices of Recovery America Honors Recovery Awards Dinner and Gala at the National Press Club. The NPC was packed >325 as we celebrated recovery and recognized outstanding leaders AHR Emcee, fellow Long Islander, William C Moyers was among those who helped honor Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli, well known recovery advocate and former Johnson Institute Director, Johnny Allem, fellow New Yorker Paul Samuels of the Legal Action Center, and our very own Laura Elliot Engel. It was a festive and emotional night as we paused to pay tribute to some of our friends who have made a meaningful impact on recovery in America.

Eugenia Karahalias traveled to the Greek islands to provide trauma care to refugees fleeing violence and unrest in the region. Richard Buckman was elected President of the Board of Directors of Faces and Voices of Recovery at their July 2016 board retreat. Suzanne Loevner was accepted into SUNY Stony Brook School of Social Welfare and will be doing her field placement with LIRA!

Janine Sullivan passed the nursing boards and is now a Registered Nurse.

Bruce Till long time LIRA Treasurer stepped down to enjoy his well-deserved retirement. Dr. Edmond Hakimi, Bryant Kaplan and Sue Ferraro were elected to the LIRA Board of Directors.
Jahnice Strange, Michelle Louzoun, Tracey Cox, Jeannie Gedeon, Nicole Carey, Nora Milligan, Krystle Stoddard, Claudia Friszell, Janine Sullivan and Judi Raimondi all completed the 30 Hour CCAR Recovery Coach training. Congratulations to all of you!

A giant and heartfelt Thank You! to Benjamin Carey of Center Street Interactive for generously donating his time and talents to updating and managing the LIRA web site.

The family movement continues to grow on LI and statewide with our sister group, Families In Support of Treatment (FIST), leading the charge, adding a powerful voice and presence to the advocacy movement in our communities.

LIRA & OASAS hosted a Recovery Coach training for LI advocates in February 2015 that included many LIRA and FIST members.

Attendees at LIRA 30-hour training funded by our partner OASAS

LIRA has a new Wellness Committee dedicated to supporting recovery with holistic and alternative practices. Want to volunteer for this or other initiatives? Go to our web site and sign up to join in the campaign to help grow recovery.

In June LIRA hosted a MEET LIRA community event in West Islip. The forum was specifically designed to engage our friends in the 12 step communities and to dispel myths about public advocacy. The event was very well received. Additional forums will be held later this year.

Some of our Meet LIRA team in West Islip June 7, 2015

LIRA meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 10:30AM so make plans to attend a meeting and join our efforts to effect positive change.

Above attendees at LIRA meeting in January 2016 below Leaders of Bikers Against Heroin 
present LIRA with a $2000 donation from their fundraising event at our July meeting

For 17 years, LIRA has operated without funding and all of our work has been done by non-compensated volunteers including our dedicated Board of Directors, members of the community, affected families, and individuals in recovery. In essence, LIRA’s good work is made possible only with the support of our members and friends through various donations. Please consider supporting LIRA by making a tax deductible contribution. Please make checks payable to Friends of Recovery- LI and mail to: FOR-NY, LI Chapter PO Box 262 Franklin Square NY 11010-0262

Your generosity makes it possible for us to continue our educational and advocacy efforts. Please support recovery from addiction with your generous gift. You can also donate online here!

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Rock N Recovery: Scroll of Honor Sponsors/Donors-2015

Potential Behavioral Health Advisors

Ambrosia Treatment Centers, Richard & Doreen Buckman, Michele Louzoun & Ethan Heisler (in memory of Viv Dungaree)

American Addiction Centers, Bridgeback to Life
Families in Support of Treatment (FIST), LI Center for Recovery,
Dr. Jeffrey & Maureen Reynolds Seafield Center

Friends of Recovery-NY, Kenneth Peters Center, LECSA EAP
LI EAPA Chapter
Phoenix Houses of Long Island, Angie & Karl Ruhry
In Memory of Peter Karl Ruhry 2000 Computer Solutions

John Buckman
Bethpage Federal Credit Union
Central Nassau Guidance & Counseling, Pat A. Fulton
Rise Gibson & Steven Baader
Eugenia Karahalias
Diane Katz
John & Leslie Kennedy
Ken Lavery
Morning Star Community
Joseph Ortado
Joan Phillips
Pocket Demolition
Quality Consortium Suffolk County

Ralph Allocco-CHT Hypnosis, Paul & Emma Amoreisky, A.M. Sutton Associates
Lisa M Brala
George Caravousanos & Elsie Demers, Henry Dennis
James & Kathy Devine
Sheila Gaeckler
Neil A Garguilo
Victoria E Honohan
Nicholas & Marian Karahalias, Kontos Psychotherapy
Life Center Realty LLC
Ed & Claire Olsen
Anthony & Grazia Rizzuto, Janine Sullivan
Bruce & Lois Till

Coca Cola Bottling Co.,. Johanna & Ricardo Ramos, Olympic Diner
Panera Bread
Peter Schweitzer
Rolling Pin Bakery, Stables Garden Center, Vanessa L Troise D.C. P.C

Mike & Val Labiak in Memory of Michael Michele Louzoun & Ethan Heisler
Seafield Services
Center Street Interactive: Nicole & Benjamin Carey

FRIDAY SEP. 30TH, 2017  7:00PM-11:00PM

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