Hello all - I have personally interacted with and met most of you in the past, but please allow me to introduce myself to those of you with whom I have not. My name is Jake Nichols and I am a pharmacist in long term recovery who has been working in the field of substance use disorders for the past 8 years. I am also one of the founding members of Recovery Matters - a community-focused advocacy group with goals that we feel have been misinterpreted by others within the treatment community. We would like review who we are, clarify our goals and invite you to join us in our efforts.
The leadership team at Recovery Matters has a combined experience of being on both sides of this crisis since 1982. We have worked in or received medication assisted treatments, we have been founding members of clinics to provide HIV testing and early harm reduction services, to dispense buprenorphine from Massachusetts to Florida, we have started 12 step meetings, run drug free programs in Roxbury in the late 80’s where people were treated for a minimum of 28 days and it has been reported that a cohort of 85% in one groups remain drug free today 30 years later as well as donating our time, monies and energies toward Recovery Matters since 2016. The number of combined years of service to the communities at risk by the leadership alone is more than 200 years.
Recovery Matters is for any type of therapy/treatment/intervention that can enhance the outcomes of those struggling with Substance Use Disorders or a Substance Use Disorder. This includes harm reduction strategies. There are many clinicians that are a part of our team and we ALL believe in evidence-based treatments, including the use of pharmacotherapy. I myself am a former buprenorphine patient and many of you know that I regularly share how much it truly facilitated my entry into long-term recovery.
We do feel however that the focus on recovery as an attainable goal has fallen by the wayside. Many of us have observed that discussions about the concept of recovery are no longer happening in general practice and our goal is simple: to ensure that patients are given the opportunity to attain the gift that so many of us have been blessed to receive. We acknowledge that there are many paths to recovery and we do not support any single approach.
Recovery Matters wishes to be an additional voice for services and education in this crisis, where we can join with other concerned individuals and groups and come up with holistic and innovative approaches to saving lives and demonstrating a healthy way of life.
We truly hope that this clarifies any confusion as to what our goals are as an organization. More importantly, we hope that you will join us and share your perspectives - you are all key respected members of the treatment community and we could use your support, experience, and opinions. We will accomplish more collectively then trying to attack this in small isolated groups.
Recovery Matters is willing to come to town meetings, support groups, community forums to dialogue about the issues of the current and ongoing drug crisis.
Recovery Matters is planning another program late spring. Suggestions are welcome from all. This program will focus on those who have worked to achieve and sustain recovery as a way of life, their struggles, opportunities and adventures
I wanted to thank you for all your kind words when we met at Recovery Matters. I have been working with the Boston Public Health Commission at the Bureau of Recovery Services for about 8 years up until June 2018 when I began working at BMC Project ASSERT. What I have seen in this part of town is gut wrenching. I believe that if we could get more access to recovery homes dealing with specifics such as medication adherence, helping people on Suboxone, Methadone, and such learn how to live their lives in a more structured way through long term residential with a plan in place to come down as low as possible with their dose or come off MAT would be an avenue to look at. I am not totally in disagreement with abstinence model, as this is how I go sober 20 years ago, I just feel that those who are on MAT do not have enough avenues to get sober within a specific, 12 step, trauma informed, long term, gender specific, residential treatment program for MAT patients .
I know that what is happening now in the addictions field looks like it may not be effective, I truly believe that if people were given more options with residential it would make a difference. I look forward to talking with you more.
The SIF debate: Lines drawn with Rosenstein op-ed, but truth may lie in the middle .
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A group of us were opposed to the idea of safe injection sites as a partial answer to the ever growing opioid crisis in 2016 here in Boston. We are not opposed to harm reduction strategies, we support it, but not at the cost of limiting treatment and recovery options. We have grown from the bottom up and continue to speak with and for those who challenge the medicalization of addiction treatment
Hi. Thank you so much for providing folks with a place to talk out some of our thoughts/ideas around what works and what does not work, in addressing addiction.
We do need the help and support of local and political leaders; They hold the "purse strings" for the funding that we need in order to provide services. I think that one reason that we cannot get political/ local leaders to "hear our message" is that we struggle to provide a united message. Our message, as the focus of the group signifies, is that "Recovery Matters". I totally agree. The issue, for many of us is that we cannot agree on how folks get to "recovery".
I have been in this field for over 30 years and in recovery for 38. I can talk about my personal pathway to recovery and I do share to an extent, however, different modalities work for different people; I think it is important to have a "menu" so that people can try what they think might work. Whether it is a safe injection site; 12 step; MAT; outpatient; refuge recovery; church, etc. or a combination of several modalities, it is important that folks choose and buy into what they are going to try, to help them to move forward in their lives. No one has "THE answer", but we all hold the pieces of what can be the most comprehensive and fully inclusive system of treatment. One size does not fit all.
It was great to hear so much passion in the room. I have not been able to participate in many community meetings/workshops, etc. so being in the room on Saturday was so exciting. Our ability and opportunity to have honest and open communication with each other can help to push "OUR" united agenda, and in that way we can advocate for services that can include all of the folks we work with and provide appropriate treatment options, regardless of what our personal ideals are and what our own recovery experience is.
Recovery Works; it saves lives, builds positive community and strengthens families. We need to remember that, with our guidance, help and support, we can help folks to build their own recovery program. Political and community leaders need to hear the message that we respect each others work and we support the conversations and possibility that every idea brings to the table. There is room for multiple pathways and all pathways can lead to recovery.
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