Governor Cuomo


Andrew M. Cuomo 
NYS OASAS Commissioner
Arlene Gonz�lez-S�nchez
August 2013
Governor Cuomo Announces Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council
Governor Cuomo Announces Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council
Governor Cuomo Launches Emergency Tracking System to Locate Patients During Emergencies and Evacuations
Commissioner Presents at the 14th Annual ASAP Conference in Buffalo
OASAS Commissioner Receives NASADAD Award During Their Annual Conference
OASAS Offers Peer Advocate Certificate in NYS
OASAS Awards $5 Million for MRT PSH Initiative
OASAS Participates in the 13th Annual NYS Supportive Housing Network Conference
July is Saving Lives Through Partnership Month
OASAS Announces New Web-Based Perception of Care Survey System
Veterans Roundtable Held in Albany
Overdose Prevention Awareness and Opinion Survey
OASAS Medical Corner
OASAS Nursing Corner
OASAS ATC Spotlight
Patient Advocacy FAQs
Full Scholarships Available for CASAC Training at Outreach Training Institute
2013 Prevention, Law Enforcement and Coalitins Conference to Prevent, Combat and Reduce Underage Alcohol Consumption Held in Albany, NYC and Rochester
New Spanish Language Brochure for Clients Available from SAMHSA
New York Problem Gambling Annual Conference
"What's New?" on the OASAS Website
Quick Links


Follow OASAS:
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
View our photos on flickr
View our videos on YouTube
HOPEline logo
24 hours / 7 days
Toll-free, anonymous and confidential
Visit the OASAS Contact Us Webpage:
for links and phone numbers to connect you to OASAS program area experts.

This newsletter is produced by the NYS OASAS Communications Bureau:


Jannette Rond�

Dora Ricci





Thanks to those of you who have contributed to this newsletter.




If you would like to submit

an article or have a story

idea for an upcoming newsletter issue, please

send them to:


OASAS Communicator 
Dear Friends,

In the closing hours of the 2012 Legislative session, the New York  State Senate approved Governor Cuomo's nominees for membership on the newly constituted Behavioral Health Services Advisory Counsel. On behalf of OASAS, I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in establishing the new Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council and take this opportunity to welcome all the distinguished members of the Advisory Council.  


OASAS looks forward to working together with you on forming an integrated system of care that incorporates not just behavioral health, but also physical health. 

Arlene Gonz�lez-S�nchez
OASAS Commissioner


Governor Cuomo Announces $200 Million Available to Meet Healthcare and Human Service Needs Resulting from Superstorm Sandy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that $200 million is available to fund requests from healthcare and human service providers and other community-based organizations following the impact of Superstorm Sandy. The funding is made available by the Superstorm Sandy Supplemental Social Services Block Grant to cover necessary expenses resulting from the storm, including social, health and mental health services for individuals, and for repair, renovation and rebuilding of health care facilities, mental hygiene facilities, child care facilities and other social services facilities.


"During and after Superstorm Sandy, New York State's health and human service providers performed critical work for New Yorkers, and they continue to be essential resources to communities recovering from the storm," Governor Cuomo said. "These organizations serve the needs of many of the State's most vulnerable residents including our seniors, children and low-income families, and in their line of work, they have also suffered financial losses and damage to their facilities from the storm. This funding will provide the support they need to continue helping their communities, and I urge those impacted to apply for this assistance."


OASAS providers are eligible for funding and are encouraged to apply. The Request for Proposals is being coordinated by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and can be accessed at:


To read the press release, visit the  Governor's website.    

Governor Cuomo Announces Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced the Senate's approval of multiple appointments within the administration.


"When I took office, I pledged to restore integrity and performance in state government," Governor Cuomo said. "To fulfill that pledge, my administration has worked to recruit the finest candidates to work for New Yorkers. These individuals bring valuable knowledge and experience to all areas of government that affect the public, from transportation to housing to insurance to the arts. I congratulate them on their confirmations and now let's get to work."


Included in these appointments, was the confirmation of the members of the Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council. To read Governor Cuomo's full press release and see a complete list of the members of the Council, visit the Governor's website.     


Governor Cuomo Launches Emergency Tracking System to Locate Patients During Emergencies and Evacuations


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that New York State is launching a statewide emergency tracking system to ensure the safety of patients and residents when healthcare and human services facilities are forced to evacuate as a result of a natural disaster.

"In the event of an emergency, it is vital that family members, hospitals and nursing home staff can quickly find loved ones and patients if evacuations occur," Governor Cuomo said. "Protecting the safety of vulnerable populations is always our top priority and this new system will serve as a critical emergency resource for all major health care and human services facilities."


Arlene Gonz�lez-S�nchez, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), said: "In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, OASAS and our healthcare partners recognized that we needed a system to better account for displaced patients. This new electronic patient and resident tracking system will enable OASAS to better account for the whereabouts, care and well-being of our clients during the immediate aftermath of a disaster.   

During Superstorm Sandy, more than 13,000 patients and residents were evacuated from State-regulated and State-run facilities for a variety of State agencies, including OASAS.  When these storms struck, there was no statewide system in place to track vulnerable patients and residents who had to be transferred to alternative locations due to flooding, power outages or damage to facilities.  The State was unable to provide information to families who called about their loved ones.


The New York State Evacuation of Facilities in Disasters System (NYS e-FINDS) is a secure, confidential, fast and easy-to-use statewide solution that will provide real-time access to healthcare and human services patient and resident locations in an emergency.


Under this new system, facilities will use barcode wristbands pre-printed with the facility name for all patients and facility residents, except for facilities such as substance abuse treatment programs where confidentiality requires that facility names be excluded. Patient and resident locations can be updated and tracked using hand-held scanners, mobile apps, or paper tracking (if power and/or phones are out of service).


NYS e-FINDS will be used by all OASAS ATCs and by 464 certified and licensed residential (including detox and crisis) and opioid treatment programs throughout the State.  In the near future, wristbands and scanners will be distributed to to the e-FINDS locations and training will be provided by OASAS staff.

More information about NYS e-FINDS is available at: To read the press release, visit the OASAS website.  



Commissioner Presents at 14th Annual ASAP Conference
in Buffalo 

Congratulations to the New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers (ASAP) on a very successful conference. The 14th ASAP Annual Conference was held on May 5-8, 2013, at the Adams Mark Hotel in Buffalo, New York.  The Conference offered OASAS the opportunity to meet their partners, colleagues, and stakeholders from around the state to discuss critical issues within the field.  Many OASAS staff members led workshops at the conference and participated on a number of panels that were very well attended.


Commissioner Arlene Gonzlez-Snchez provided remarks at the first plenary session entitled: A Wake-Up Call for a New Day:  New Science, New Addictions, New Policies.  She addressed scientific research, the Affordable Care Act and new federal policies, State Medicaid redesign, and a deadly epidemic of prescription drug misuse that is transforming addiction services in New  York State.  Her presentation focused on the opportunities hidden in this upheaval to create greater public awareness of the medical nature of substance use disorders and greater public support for prevention, treatment, and recovery.  She addressed the gaps she sees today that could be filled to shore up that support and she offered a vision of the ways ASAP providers and OASAS can work together in the future to make New York State a national leader in addiction services.


After her plenary remarks, the Commissioner was delighted to be able to honor three outstanding leaders from the field in the areas

Pictured L-R: OASAS Commissioner Sanchez, Assistant VP of Residential Services for Samaritan Village James Hollywood and  Samaritan's President/CEO Tino Hernandez 

of Prevention, Treatment and Recovery.  Each one of these individuals has made significant contributions to advancing their respective field, has served as a role model to inspire the work of others, and has helped to make a positive difference in the lives of countless New Yorkers. The Prevention Award was presented to Judi Vining, the Treatment Award to James Hollywood, and the Recovery Award went to Elizabeth "Betty" Currier.


As the Commissioner stated in her plenary, "Let's continue our work together to face this new day with optimism and a clear vision. We

will cultivate the new opportunities and partnerships, devel

op new and innovative models to achieve better outcomes and we will face the challenges together and that will make addiction treatment stronger. It's a new day.  And together, as partners, we can make our work even more effective, meaningful, and rewarding."    



OASAS Commissioner Receives NASADAD Award During Their Annual Conference


Commissioner Arlene Gonz�lez-S�nchez received the  National

Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors

(NASADAD) award for Exceptional Leadership and Support Of Substance Abuse Prevention andTreatment.   

AGS Award
Pictured from L-R: JoAnne Hoesel, SA Director from North Dakota, Commissioner Sanchez and Rob Morrison, Executive Director of NASADAD 
The award recognizes a state substance abuse director who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and service to a single state agency for prevention and treatment services.   


Commissioner S�nchez was recognized for her strong leadership of OASAS through a time of great change within the field.  In partnership with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Office of Mental Health (OMH), she has implemented the recommendations of Governor Cuomo's Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT).  These collaborative efforts have lead to the establishment of regional Behavioral Health Organizations to provide care coordination for health and behavioral health services provided under Medicaid. She was recognized as a strong and caring leader who saw the NYS Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment system through the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy.   


During this disaster, 24,000 New Yorkers in more than 112 programs had their SUD services interrupted or closed.  Commissioner S�nchez kept communication open with both OASAS staff and providers daily through meetings, briefings, and website postings.  During this time, she was stationed at the Governor's Emergency Cabinet post in NYC where she assisted local community members during this disaster.  


Commissioner S�nchez serves as the Region II Representative on the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors Board (NASADAD), representing New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  Through her membership on the NASADAD Board of Directors, the Commissioner has developed strong working relationships with leaders at The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), as well as Substance Abuse Directors from other states and territories. 


To learn more about NASASDAD and/or their annual conference, visit their website.  



OASAS Congratulates Robert Kent on Receiving the 2013 Leadership Award from The Coalition of Behavioral
Health Agencies


On June 27, 2013, OASAS General Counsel, Robert Kent was honored 
by the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc. at their 2013
Rob award
Pictured L-R: Jason Lippman, Sr. Associate for Policy and Advocacy for the Coalition; OASAS Commissioner Sanchez;  Robert Kent, OASAS General Counsel; and Phillip Saperia, CEO for the Coalition 
Leadership Awards Reception held at Pfizer World Headquarters in New York City.  Specifically, Rob was recognized as a leader in the transformation of our system to an integrated system of care.

Rob Kent was one of four recipients of this year's Leadership Award which also included A. Kathryn Power, SAMHSA Regional Administrator (Region 1); Isaac Brown, President and CEO, Baltic Street AEH, Inc.; and Paul Levine, Executive Vice President & CEO, Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services, Inc. George Bodarky from WFUV, Fordham University Radio Station, received the Media Award during the event as well.
The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc. is the umbrella advocacy organization of New York's behavioral health community, representing more than 100 non-profit community-based behavioral health agencies that serve more than 350,000 clients in the five boroughs of New York City and its environs. To learn more about the mission of The Coalition, visit their website.  


OASAS Offers Peer Advocate Certificate in New York State


OASAS Commissioner Arlene Gonzlez-Snchez is pleased to announce that the Florida Certification Board (FCB) has been approved to offer a Peer Advocate Certificate in New York State. 


Peer Advocates certified by the FCB will be able to offer peer services in OASAS Certified Outpatient Treatment settings and be reimbursed by Medicaid for such services. One of the first tasks that the FCB will undertake is to establish a New York-Based Advisory Board of subject matter experts who will work hand-in-hand with the FCB to develop Peer Advocate certification, application, testing and review processes. As part of the formal agreement between OASAS and the FCB, the FCB has committed to begin certifying Peer Advocates in New York State within six months.


Commissioner Snchez stated, "This partnership with the Florida Certification Board is an important step for OASAS to further promote a recovery oriented system of care (ROSC) in New York State. It is essential that our system have peer advocates involved in the treatment and recovery process to provide hope as well as life-long community-based services to sustain long-term recovery."


To read the full release, visit the OASAS website.    


OASAS Awards $5 Million in Awards for Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Initiative


New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Commissioner Arlene Gonzlez-Snchez announced the award of 300 Permanent Supportive Housing units as part of the Governor's Medicaid Redesign Initiative.

In 2011, Governor Cuomo established the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) by Executive Order to find ways to reform and improve the Medicaid system. The MRT identified increasing the availability of affordable supportive housing for high-need Medicaid beneficiaries as a significant opportunity to reduce Medicaid spending.


"For people with chronic conditions such as addiction, a lack of stable housing often results in costly and unnecessary emergency department visits and inpatient admissions, as well as poorer outcomes," said Commissioner Arlene Gonzlez-Snchez. "We are very pleased that savings identified by the Medicaid Redesign Team will allow OASAS to provide permanent supportive housing to 300 individuals."


To read the press release, visit the OASAS website.


OASAS Participates in the 13th Annual New York State Supportive Housing Network Conference 

On June 6, 2013, the Supportive Housing Network of New York (SHNNY) held its largest, most ambitious conference in its 25-year history at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. As the largest statewide conference on supportive housing in the nation, more than 1,300 people registered to participate in more than 25 workshops and to see more than 100 guest speakers, including OASAS Commissioner Arlene Gonzlez-Snchez.


As part of the Healthcare & Housing. What's Next? panel, Commissioner S�nchez participated as one of three panelists alongside Jason Helgerson, SHNNYDirector of Medicaid from the New York State Department of Health and Kristen Woodlock, Acting Commissioner from the New York State Office of Mental Health. Commissioner S�nchez's opening remarks focused on three areas: an MRT Behavioral Health Workgroup update, OASAS's role in this MRT/Managed Care/HARPs transition and OASAS' long-term commitment to supportive housing.


Commissioner S�nchez emphasized that for more than 20 years OASAS has recognized the importance of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) to a person's recovery. OASAS expanded its housing brands from 1 to 6 and units from 400 to more than 1,800. OASAS now has PSH in 29 Counties and in all 5 boroughs. OASAS also will continue to leverage whatever federal funding opportunities there are for such housing.


"Having strong government partners like OASAS participate in our daylong dialogue is a testament to the public-private partnership that has made New York State a national leader in ending homelessness through the investment of supportive housing. We are proud to have OASAS as a strong partner in this joint goal of ending homelessness in New York State," said Ted Houghton, executive director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York.


To learn more about Permanent Supportive Housing, visit the


July is Saving Lives Through Partnership Month


An underutilized and critical source of new patients are hospital emergency departments, but successful referrals are often difficult. partnershipOASAS is seeking to strengthen your relationships with these departments and practitioners through our upcoming meetings with their medical directors. OASAS is also proposing a Saving Lives Through Partnership Month in which providers arrange to meet with local emergency departments to educate them on their treatment services and how the emergency staff can successfully and appropriately refer a patient. By putting a face to the program name and increasing appropriate and successful referrals, we hope to foster better relationships, communications and patient care. July is frequently the month when new "house staff" begins, so we are designating July as the month for this initiative.  


If your organization plans to participate, please write to us at and be sure to include Saving Lives Through Partnership Month in the subject line of your e-mail.   



OASAS Announces New Web-Based Perception of Care
Survey System


OASAS recently announced the development of a new web-based application to help treatment and recovery providers regularly obtain feedback from their clients and participants on the following domains: access, quality, perceived outcome, social connectedness, commitment to change and program recommendation. OASAS will convene an orientation conference call for provider QI Directors in May to provide an overview of the system; how to manage your staff access to the system; and how to set survey targets. Please contact if you are interested in attending and we will send you the call-in information. Technical assistance requests may also be directed to or


Veterans Roundtable Held in Albany


Members of the military exposed to combat have significantly higher rates of substance use disorder than the general population.  Since October 2001, more than 2.5 million troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan with many experiencing multiple deployments.  According to a study by the by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), more than 11 percent of the veterans of those deployments have received a diagnosis of substance use disorder.  There are programs available, including those with services tailored to the specific needs of veterans, however, fewer veterans are finding their way into treatment.


To discuss these important issues and develop collaborative strategies to better serve our veterans and returning military, OASAS Commissioner Arlene Gonz�lez-S�nchez and members of the Governor's Advisory Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services hosted a Veterans Roundtable in Albany, on April 10, 2013.   


The Roundtable resulted in many recommendations as to how agencies and organizations can work together to better serve members of our military.  Some of the suggestions included:  develop tools for families to help them recognize when their loved one has a problem, and create a directory of services for veteran advocacy organizations; support efforts such as Peer to Peer programs; work collaboratively with Veteran Centers and advocacy organizations; develop uniform and current screening instruments and review/analyze outcome data related to treating veterans. 


This event was the first such forum held by OASAS to discuss this important topic.  A subsequent Roundtable will be convened later this year to follow up on the issues raised at this initial meeting.



The OASAS mission is to improve the lives of all New Yorkers by leading a premier system of addiction services through prevention, treatment and recovery. If you know an exceptional individual who works or volunteers in the field of addiction and consistently makes a difference in the lives of New Yorkers, we want to hear from you. To nominate a colleague or yourself as an O-STAR, please e-mail no more than two to three short paragraphs about the nominee with a picture (.jpg format) along with your contact information to Self nominations are also accepted.

James "Jay" Stewart is a counselor at C. K. Post Addiction Treatment Center (ATC), a New York State 28-day inpatient rehabilitation center. He has more than 15 years in the field and has been working at CK Post ATC since 2006. He teaches a very popular mediation class which both staff and james stewartpatients enjoy. For many years, he also worked as an engineer and is an avid motorcycle enthusiast.  
Jay Stewart's treatment style is rooted in self help and expressed in his work to guide the person's individual's potential, ability and the change process will ultimately have their strength emerge, as they effectively begin to learn new ways to feel, think and behave differently and manage their lives.

Jay has defined a comprehensive and integrated approach of a skilled professional. The focus in the here-and-now, the goals of development of a new social self and self definition, self improvement, reconstruction of a lifestyle and re-entry from the sub-culture to the larger society.


Building upon his knowledge and understanding, his treatment philosophy is grounded in the belief that drugs are behavior altering and the temptation to use/abuse them exists for us all.  Expanding on his concept affords all of us the opportunity to demonstrate the care, concern, and compassion to which our treatment is committed for both clients and significant others.


Overdose Prevention Awareness and Opinion Survey
The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) are working together to prevent overdose injuries and deaths associated with the use of opioid drugs, including: Heroin, Morphine, Codeine, Methadone, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Fentanyl, and Hydromorphone. 

In the next few weeks, OASAS will be sending an overdose prevention survey to Medical Directors, Health Care Coordinators, Program Directors, Counselors, or other OASAS-licensed drug treatment program staff members. Your responses to this survey will help inform efforts to improve opioid overdose prevention in drug treatment settings.

Study Protocol: The survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. 
Rights of Participants: Participation in this study is voluntary. If you decide not to participate, even after beginning the survey, it will not affect your relationship with OASAS or the NYSDOH.  

Risks, Benefits, and Confidentiality: There are no risks or benefits to participating in this study. If you decide to participate, your answers will help us understand the current state of opioid overdose prevention in OASAS-licensed drug treatment facilities. Your responses to this survey are confidential. Responses to this survey will be summarized and presented only in aggregate format.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Christina Ortega-Peluso, Evaluation Specialist, NYSDOH, (518) 402-6814. If you have any questions about your rights as a participant, please contact Tony Watson, IRB Coordinator, NYSDOH, (518) 474-8539.


OASAS Medical Corner  
Dr. Steven Kipnis, OASAS Medical Director


The OASAS Medical Corner is an ongoing part of each edition of the Communicator newsletter. It is intended to provide timely information regarding educational events, new research and/or updates that can lead to better performance by the field. Addiction Medicine is a dynamic and relatively new specialty and this column will help to filter some of this information.

 Vaccines and Why They May Not Work

There is a significant amount of research on the use of vaccines in the treatment of substance use disorders. The idea is to form antibodies (IgG) against the drug and thus not allow it to cross into the brain through the blood-brain barrier. Why do some of these vaccines not work? Frank M. Orson and colleagues in the Am J Addiction (2013) stated that in cocaine vaccine studies, only a minority of subjects made strong antibody responses. They investigated this issue, IgG and IgM antibody responses to cocaine and to cholera toxin B (CTB-the carrier protein used to enhance immune responses to cocaine) in sera from the 55 actively vaccinated subjects.


Before immunization, 36/55 subjects had detectable IgM antibodies to cocaine, and 9 had IgM levels above the 95% confidence limit of 11 mg/ml. These nine had significantly reduced peak IgG anti-cocaine responses at 16 weeks, and all were below the concentration (40 mg/ml) considered necessary to discourage recreational cocaine use. The IgG anti-CTB responses of these same subjects were also reduced. Thus, subjects who develop an IgM antibody response to cocaine in the course of repeated recreational exposure to this drug are significantly less likely to produce high levels of IgG antibodies from the cocaine conjugate vaccine.  Such individuals will require improved vaccines and are poor candidates for the currently available vaccine.


Opioid Analgesic Misuse in a Community-Based Cohort of HIV-Infected Indigent Adults; a brief report
Maya Vijayaraghavan, MD, MAS et al., JAMA Intern Med. 2013:1-3.


Among the 296 participants, 71.9% were male, 41.2% were African American, and 81.2% had a lifetime history of chronic homelessness. At enrollment, 10.1% reported current homelessness, 7.1% reported regular drinking, 74.3% reported current smoking, 34.8% reported current illicit substance use, and 27.4% had moderate to severe depression. At enrollment, 89.9% reported pain in the past week, and 52.0% reported being prescribed opioids by a health care provider in the past 90 days.


Over the study interval (interviews quarterly for 2 years) 71.9% reported any misuse, and 53.4% reported major misuse (list below).For many misuse behaviors, most reported that their motivation was to get high; these behaviors included performing sex to get an opioid (80.0%), drinking alcohol or using street drugs to boost the effect of opioids (61.3%), or lying to a health care provider about pain symptoms in order to receive a prescription for opioids (51.1%). Current homelessness, regular drinking, current smoking, current illicit substance use, moderate to severe depression, and being prescribed an opioid by a health care provider were associated with major misuse.


Major misuse:

  • Used prescription opioid analgesics to get high
  • Drank alcohol or used street drugs to boost effects of opioid analgesics
  • Bought medicines from another person
  • Sold opioid analgesics
  • Snorted, crushed, injected, or smoked opioid analgesics
  • Lied to a health care provider about pain symptoms to get a prescription for opioids
  • Traded street drugs to get opioid analgesics
  • Exchanged opioid analgesics for sex or other drugs
  • Stole opioid analgesics from another person
  • Licked, dissolved, or injected transdermal fentanyl
  • Attempted to forge a prescription for opioid analgesics
  • Stole opioid analgesics from a pharmacy, hospital, or clinic

You can use this for referrals to needed treatment for your HCV positive patients.


 HCV Provider Directory Posted to the New York State Department of Health Website


The HCV provider directory has now been posted to the DOH's Hepatitis website.


OASAS Nursing Corner


Welcome to the OASAS Nursing Corner. As an ongoing part of the newsletter, this column will provide an opportunity for nurses working in the field of addiction to obtain information relevant to their practice and will focus on nursing education, training and regulations in addiction.   


Nurses need to stay informed of current trends and have resources to provide guidance when needed.  One essential resource for addiction nurses is the NYS OASAS Nurse Advisory Panel.


The OASAS Nurse Advisory Panel was created in 2009. It is comprised of a group of addictions nursing content experts, experienced clinicians, researchers and managers convened to advise the Commissioner on OASAS initiatives in the state of New York.

Topics of special focus can include, but are not limited to: education and training opportunities for nurses; evidence-based practices in addictions treatment; the integration of basic and specialty components of addiction treatment; public relations activities related to nursing roles at OASAS and the scope of the nursing practice as related to addictions nursing; as well as providing leadership for change in practices and policies and providing support for legislation to advance quality care related to the prevention, treatment and recovery of New York state citizens.

More information on addictions nursing and the OASAS Nurse Advisory Panel can be found on the OASAS website.

Comments or questions specific to nursing can be e-mailed to  


Other professional nursing resources include: 

Please send suggestions for future articles, article submissions and/or questions concerning addictions nursing to


OASAS ATC Spotlight


The  Van Dyke Addiction Treatment Center is located on the grounds of the Willard Drug Treatment Campus in the Finger Lakes region of
Van Dyke staff
Front Row: Brenda Hollenbeck; Jess Nohle; Andy Merrill; and Wanda Osborne  
Back Row: Patricia Wedding; Tom Murphy; Jim Kurilovitch; Brian Redditt; and Keith Williams
New York.  It is named after the actor, Dick Van Dyke, who had gone public with his alcoholism in the late 1970's and he gave permission for the facility to bear his name.

The service area covers a 14 county region in the Finger Lakes area, encompassing the larger cities of Syracuse and Binghamton, but more often rural areas and counties with smaller cities (Ithaca, Geneva, Elmira, Cortland). 


The Van Dyke ATC is a 30-bed inpatient program and has run two separate gender specific treatment programs for more than the past 25 years.  It was found that men and women "have the same disease, but different issues" and the change has proven to be beneficial for both genders. 


Van Dyke, along with the Norris ATC, was one of the first ATCs to go "tobacco-free" in 1996 and has been diagnosing and treating nicotine addiction since that time.  This was after years of about one-third of the patients expressing interest to stop smoking, one-third thinking that they "should" and one-third firmly committed to return to smoking.  Studies indicate that those who remain abstinent from smoking have higher rates of recovery from their other drugs of addiction and this is part of the material that is presented.


ATCThe Van Dyke ATC is well known for having implemented Person Centered Treatment interventions, networking with several community agencies that are concerned with addiction prevention, treatment and recovery and they continue to provide education to patients about opiate overdose prevention, which results in patients being discharged with a "blue kit" which has the material to prevent opiate overdoses.  This has been widely responded to by patients as several have been revived through the overdose prevention kits and the training has been provided to local community agency staff.  They also provide family programming to family and friends of those individuals in treatment.


The staff of the Van Dyke ATC is proud to be part of one of the largest and most comprehensive addiction treatment systems in the nation. 


Patient Advocacy FAQs
Mike Yorio, Patient Advocacy Supervisor
The Patient Advocacy FAQs will be included in each edition of the newsletter. In addition to addressing patient complaints, OASAS Patient Advocacy advises provider staff on matters related to patient rights and treatment standards. For immediate assistance, patients may call 1-800-553-5790 and staff may call 646-728-4520. Here is a sample of questions addressed by PA recently.

What is meant by "Due Process" in Part 815? 


PA: "Due process" is the popular term for two administrative steps that follow, and should not be confused with, any and all treatment interventions that providers deem appropriate for particular patients.  The two steps are: (1) giving patients the official discharge reason(s) in writing; and (2) providing an appeal opportunity.  Due-process steps are outlined explicitly in Part 815.7, and apply with all involuntary discharges for any reason, even violence.


How do providers implement due process when patients are violent or threaten violence, or pose a danger to self or others? 


PA: Safety is more important than procedure in emergency circumstances.  Providers must first act prudently and respond appropriately to any violence or threats of violence.  Providers may do what is necessary to quell danger and protect others, such as isolating the danger, or calling the police for assistance, if and as the situation warrants.  Still, due process is required for violent or threatening patients, but can be implemented at a later date, and/or at another site.


How do providers arrange a due-process appeal? 


PA: There is no one way to arrange a due-process appeal or meeting.  Providers can use different methods, and all are acceptable.  More important than any procedure is a fair and objective process.  Some providers set the time/date for the meeting with the patient when the patient receives the discharge reason in writing.  Some ask the patient to call a certain number or speak to a certain person to set time/date.  PA advises providers to outline such information in the same letter as the discharge reason.  Under unusual and unique circumstances and only with clearly outlined and defined parameters, there may be situations when providers may conduct an appeal over the phone.


How do providers conduct a due-process appeal?


PA: There is no one way to conduct a due-process appeal or meeting.  Providers can use different methods, and all are acceptable.  Some have only the director meet with a patient, or only the clinical director.  Some allow a cadre of staff to conduct an appeal, while others allow staff to take turns.  Providers with multiple sites often use the other sites and/or other staff for such meetings.  Neighboring providers can use each other.  More important than any method is the meeting's purpose: to listen fairly and to decide objectively.  

If you have a question that you would like to see addressed in the Patient Advocacy FAQs column, please send it to
Full Scholarships Available for CASAC Training at Outreach Training Institute


Outreach Training Institute (OTI) - a provider of training/retraining for New York State-licensed substance abuse counselors - is currently offering 80 full scholarships for New York City-based health care workers to become Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselors (CASAC), as part of a Department of Health Workforce Retraining grant.

Scholarships are available until September for individuals who would like to study to become drug and alcohol addiction counselors and do not hold the Qualified Health Professional (QHP) credential. Applicants must be employed at a New York City licensed healthcare organization or recently laid off from a licensed healthcare organization and living in New York City. They must also have a high school diploma or G.E.D and meet other admissions criteria.

For more information, go to the Outreach website.


2013 Prevention, Law Enforcement and Coalitions Conference to Prevent, Combat and Reduce Underage Alcohol Consumption Held in Albany, NYC and Rochester


Three regional conferences on environmental prevention were held on March 19 in Albany, March 21 in New York City and April 9 in Rochester.  The goal of the regional sessions was to broaden the field's understanding of environmental prevention and to illustrate the complementary relationships between enforcement, policy and media as identified in the Prevention Guidelines.

Dr. Harold Holder, Senior Research Scientist and the former Director of the Prevention Research Center(PRC) of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, was the
AGS Fran
Director of SAMHSA's  Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Frances Harding and OASAS Commissioner Sanchez 
key presenter at the conferences and his research and ideas about environmental prevention were the organizing principles around which the conference was built. Other conference presenters included Ms. Frances Harding, Director of SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention; Dr. Kenneth Winters, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota; Dr. Thomas Workman, Principal Communication Researcher and Evaluator, American Institutes for Research;  R.J Elrick, Senior Program Manager, Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation, Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center and T/Sgt. Douglas Paquette, New York State Police, Traffic Services. Representatives from the NY Sheriff's Association and New York State Association of Chiefs of Police partnered with OASAS and also presented at the conferences.


A total of 365 participants attended the conferences representing  individuals from  prevention (55%); community coalitions(23%); AGS Militarylaw enforcement (15%) and others (7%). Approximately 94 percent of the conference attendees stated that the main conference workshops met their needs/interests. 

To assist coalitions with understanding logic models and performance outcome measures, three regional one-day technical assistance sessions were held following the end of conferences with Dr. Holder. Additionally, coalitions learned how to use DoView, a state of the art software program that helps communities to develop logic models and illustrate outcomes. Fifteen community coalitions as well as OASAS staff and PRC staff members participated in the TA sessions.


To view the conference presentations, visit the OASAS website.  


New Spanish Language Brochure for Clients
Available from SAMHSA


 The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently announced the availability of the Spanish-brochurelanguage version of Should You Talk to Someone About a Drug, Alcohol, or Mental Health Problem? based on Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 42: Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons With Co-Occurring Disorders.


This consumer brochure contains a series of questions people can ask themselves to help them to decide whether to seek help for a mental or substance use disorder (or both). The brochure urges those who answer "yes" to any of the questions listed to seek help and provides resources on where to find more information.

Download or order your free copy today!

The brochure is available at 



New York Problem Gambling Annual Conference

NYCPG The New York Council on Problem Gambling is hosting the 2013 Annual New York State Problem Gambling conference in Albany, NY on September 17 through 18 at the Albany Marriott. Learn from national and international problem gambling experts and network with colleagues from around the world!  


The conference registration is $50 and this also includes nine credentialing hours, lunch and refreshments.  To register and for more information, visit



"What's New?" on the OASAS Website
For questions and/or comments about this newsletter,
 please send them to