How to solve the opioid crisis

by Maximilian Eyle

The prohibition of opioids in the United States has been raging for almost a century. The Anti-Heroin Act of 1924 began the criminalization of importing and possessing opioids. Now, after countless people have been imprisoned and an immeasurable amount of money and resources have spent, have the opioids disappeared? No. On the contrary, we are in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Each year, the number of fatal opioid overdoses rises, with the CDC’s estimates for 2017 reaching a record 72,000 deaths. Let us be very clear: these are preventable deaths. Through legislative change and the implementation of proven harm reduction strategies, we have the option to adopt a drug policy based on compassion and evidence-based results rather than on punishment and propaganda.

The presence of opioids has become common throughout the United States. Some come from the black market and have been produced illegally and without government regulation, while others are prescribed and produced by registered pharmaceutical companies. A common misconception is that overdoses only stem from illegally produced opioids. In reality, a full 40% of these overdoses are due to prescription opioids. Incredibly, more than a third of Americans used a legally prescribed opioid in 2015. This number does not include illegal opioid use. This brings us to our first recommendation in the fight against opioid overdoses: Narcan should be in every household across America.

What is Narcan? Also known as Naloxone, this drug blocks the absorption of opioids at the receptor-level. Opioids effect our respiration, which is why someone suffering from an overdose may stop breathing. By pausing the effects of the opioids in the body, Narcan saves lives by restoring the person’s breathing. It is FDA approved and can be administered easily via a nasal spray. Even a child can do it. It was intentionally developed for use by those without medical training who may arrive at the scene first, such as friends or family. Narcan is not a replacement for calling 911, but can save the person’s life while EMTs are on the way.

Just as we have a fire extinguisher in every building and house to protect us in the event of a fire, we should also have Narcan readily available at all times. Harm reduction centers will often provide free Narcan kits and training to those who want it, and an increasing amount of other institutions are doing the same. The New York City government has even started distributing Narcan through a range of channels as part of its HealingNYC initiative.

Raising the availability and awareness of Narcan in our society is a powerful anti-overdose strategy. But legislative change must also be brought about if we truly hope to disrupt the opioid epidemic. Prohibition is a primary driver of overdoses and actually exacerbates the harm that these drugs can cause. We know that banning opioids does not make them disappear. On the contrary, it drives their use and production underground which is far more dangerous. Users do not know the content, strength, or dosage of what they are ingesting. Imagine if every time you needed cough syrup – it came in an unmarked bottle and was always either stronger or weaker than the last time you bought it. Obviously, the chances of you accidentally taking too much would skyrocket. Alcohol is also a potentially dangerous drug, but we learned in the 1920s that prohibiting it only made things worse.

Clearly, some form of regulated access would be preferable to the current system. This has already been tried and proven to work in many other countries, particularly in Europe. Switzerland’s program has gained considerable attention as a success story. Starting in the 1990s, “Zurich became the first place in the world where therapy programs handed out heroin prescriptions to heavy and long-term opiate users for whom other substitutes wouldn’t work.” As a result, the rate of new users, new HIV infections, overdoses, and other problems associated with opioid use all plummeted.

It is up to us as voters and individuals to drive this change forward in the fight against opioid overdoses. The steps are relatively straightforward: Equip yourself with Narcan and learn how to administer it (it’s very simple). Vote for candidates who support harm reduction measures and non-prohibitionist approaches to our drug policy. Getting “tough on drugs” has only made things worse – it’s time for compassion and pragmatic change. Lastly, support your local harm reduction centers. By tackling overdose prevention, HIV and HCV testing, sex education, syringe access, and more – these facilities do wonders for the communities they serve.

Maximilian Eyle is a native of Syracuse, NY and a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He works as a media consultant and writes each month about a variety of issues for Spanish-language papers across New York State. Maximilian has a love of Hispanic culture and learned Spanish while living in Spain where he studied and worked as an English teacher. He can be contacted at maxeyle@gmail.com.

Radioactive: Dogs, Cats and Wildlife

by Linda DeStefano
Translated by Rob English

When nuclear disasters occur, not only people but also nearby animals are contaminated with radioactivity. This has been observed in Chernobyl and in Fukushima. In 1986 the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union) exploded, contaminating a vast area with radioactivity. Emergency responders died. About 50,000 people evacuated, and most never returned home because the contamination is long-lasting. What of the animals who could not evacuate? Some of the abandoned dogs and cats survived and reproduced. Their descendants are helped today by Clean Futures Fund. The Fund provides veterinary care to these animals and adopts out the dogs, removing radioactive particles from their fur and from inside their bodies. Luckily, most of the dogs live in parts of the zone that are less contaminated – unlike the wild animals that populate the area – perhaps because dogs stay near humans who feed them. Also unlike the wild animals, the dogs do not exhibit any obvious abnormalities. Among the negative impacts for Chernobyl wildlife are tumors, infertility, smaller brains and dwindling populations. Whereas migratory wild animals may spread genetic damage to unaffected populations through breeding, the dogs are evaluated for DNA damage, and are spayed or neutered before being transported to their new homes.

But what about the plants and the wild animals? Organic matter in forests around Chernobyl are taking years or even decades longer than normal to decay. There are reduced population sizes and genetic abnormalities among birds, bees, butterflies, grasshoppers, dragonflies, spiders, and mammals in highly radioactive parts of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Birds are showing an increase in sterility, albinism and cataracts, with abnormal sperm in barn swallows up to 10 times higher for Chernobyl birds as compared to sperm from males living in control areas.

Another nuclear disaster occurred in Fukushima, Japan in March, 2011. After an earthquake and tsunami, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants had meltdowns and explosions, contaminating a wide area of land and the Pacific Ocean. About 47,000 people evacuated initially and more later. At least one kind man chose to stay behind to care for the abandoned farm animals. In studying the effects of the contamination, Dr. Timothy Mousseau and his team found that animals and microbes living in contaminated areas are failing to thrive.

Upstate nuclear power plants with the same design as those that failed in Japan could also have meltdowns and explosions because a severe ice storm could make the backup generators useless. Even without a disaster, the nuclear facilities have regular releases of radioactivity and create toxic waste that will last hundreds of thousands of years. And the water they take from Lake Ontario goes through grilles which kill fish. The hot water which is returned to the Lake is also a problem for the animals living in the water.

It is important to quickly move from these dangerous, expensive nuclear facilities in our backyard to energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal). Gov. Cuomo is keeping the Fitzpatrick nuclear facility in Oswego open by forcing all ratepayers to subsidize it. That money could instead be used for moving more quickly toward clean energy, which would create more jobs.

Information about transition to a green economy can be found at Allianceforagreeneconomy.org

Linda DeStefano is President of People for Animal Rights. For more information about animal rights or to connect with Linda, contact People for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 13215-0358, (315) 488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., people4animalrightscny@gmail.com or peopleforanimalrightsofcny.org

A Look at your world

A Moment of Reflection…
by Lilia M. Fiallo

A Look at your world

What is to love yourself?

To love yourself, is to accept you as you are, with all your defects, qualities and virtues, being aware what defects you can change, seeking to live with tranquility and peace with your own being, every minute of your existence.

All the answers to the various questions you find, will be of your privacy. They are thoughts that contain the truth and justice that characterize a clean mind open to heaven.

What is the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up, thank God?
Do you do well in all of your life’s actions?

If the answer is NO, you are not prepared to face difficult times throughout your life.

Do you get optimistic because you know you are going for your work or for school?

Your work, however humble or professional, has great significance. For your work you receive a payment that covers the daily expenses, leaving something to save, and perhaps, you can give yourself the pleasure of buying what you crave. Do you love your job, or do you love the money you are paid for doing that work?

Do you treat your family with the love that characterizes you? Can you understand the difference in the way of thinking for each one of them, and simply you remain on the sidelines, or mix in the discussions?

With responsibility and maturity, do you perform your tasks or do your work conscientiously?

Live in peace and let live?

Being offensive and hurtful causes harm to others. Do not judge, do not criticize, do not censure. Bring positive energy to your life!

They say that in a closed mouth does not enter insect, so it is always convenient to keep silent. What A said of B, B can’t know and what B said of A, either. Silence is better not to be involved in absurd situations that can cause great wounds in the soul, enmity, and sometime even death. It is better to build an atmosphere of harmony to your surrounding with nobility and humility.

Health is the most precious treasure that every human being has. We worry little and nothing about taking care of our health, we usually give it a second place, and if we have a doctor’s appointment, we often ignore it. Blood pressure for example, is a hidden enemy of young people and adults and although you know it, you believe that it is child’s play and continue to eat everything, far from taking precautions. If you end up in the hospital, who would you blame?

With respect, without harming anyone, without taking over another’s place, when you project, think or decide something, you do it with enthusiasm and pride because you know you have the right to be happy? And for all the goals that you intend, do you think you will get?

Never postpone your big goals for trivial matters that will hinder your life. Your mind can wrap it whimsically to get everything you want and when you wake up from your mistake you can’t back down. Use the great power of the mind to crystallize dreams that will fill your life with happiness.

Are you happy with what you have?
Do you give others the treatment you would like them to give you?
Do you currently live a world of tranquility and peace?

Today analyze, meditate and think, what you can correct and what you want to achieve.

May the gray years not surprise you without realizing your goals!

Lilia M. Fiallo was born in Bogotá, Colombia, where, between tasks and free time, she found a place to write about subjects, somehow forgotten by others. With gold letters engraved in her memory, she began her working life, in the heart of the technical part, of the air traffic control of her native country. In the midst of aeronautical phraseology and codes, the world of aviation gave her one of the highest experiences, because of the precision required by this craft, where a single mistake could cost many lives. It is there, where in her concern to communicate her ideas, she begins to write with dedication, themes a little relegated by society, the Church and the State. Discovering a truth that nobody wants to talk about, but much more real and everyday, than it seems. It is thus, as it appears, her first work, “Parir por parir”.
You can find her book at for sale in Amazon

When Failure Hurts

by Juan Ocasio-Borrero

“Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” Jesus Christ asked Peter the Apostle three times shortly after his resurrection (John 21: 15-16). Earlier that morning Jesus saw Simon Peter and the other Apostles fish all night and caught nothing, and although they didn’t recognize it to him, Jesus performed a miracle for them: they caught a huge load of fishes. (John 21: 1-6).

Peter must have remembered then what Jesus did when he accepted the Lord’s invitation to follow him and he became a ‘fisher of men’ (Matthew 4:18, 19). But now that Peter heard the Messiah asked him the same question three times: “Do you love me?” he was very sad. Simon knew when Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, captured, and tried by the High Priest Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin by night. Outside in the courtyard Peter waited for the outcome of his Master’s trial.

Peter was recognized by the people, and fearing of being caught, he denied Jesus three times. It was no surprise, because Christ prophesied that Peter will deny him three times before a rooster crow twice (Mark 14:30). The Bible said that Peter wept (Mark 14: 66-72). He failed Jesus miserably. He promised that even if all abandon Christ he would not (Mark 14: 27-29). But he did. He failed.

What a sadness Peter must have felt!

Have you felt that way before, who thought he was stronger than the other Apostles and disciples? Have you started a ministry or service for God, but never finished? Did you start strong doing God’s will, attended church services, but in time walked away? Do you feel you have failed God after you were saved and sinned? Is there any hope left for you?

You might feel hopeless, helpless, like a total failure. “God will not accept my prayers or repentance.” “Perhaps Christ will forsake me.” “I am alone.” you might say. Depression seems to sink in. “God has left me on my own.”

But that is not the case!

Jesus, understanding the upcoming trials of his disciple, encouraged Peter with these words: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired you to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22: 31,32). Even when the Devil weakened Peter in the time of his trial the Lord assured Simon that his faith will remain; even more, Peter will reach such level of strength he will inspire others through his testimony and his breakthrough!

Peter was the Apostle that lead in the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven during the Pentecost that caused many to be baptized in the name of Jesus and received the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts, chapter 2). Also, Peter was the first Apostle to baptize the first Gentile (non-Jewish) Christian through a vision given to him by Jesus Christ himself (Acts, chapter 10, see verses 34, 35, 44-48). Peter wrote two of the greatest letters to the Church, announcing a “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:13).

In summary, do not get discouraged when things do not go the way you intended. God knows your heart and he promised that “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” (Joshua 1:5). Rest assured that even if [your sins] they shall be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18)”. Jesus forgives your sins, strengthen you, and sends the Holy Spirit as a Comforter to bear witness with you about Christ (John 15: 26, 27).

You are precious to God, and rest assured that He loves you. That is why He sent His only-begotten Son to save you (John 3:16) and promised eternal life to His worshippers who are true to Him and overcome this world falling to perdition and destruction. Soon, all tears will fade away in God’s Kingdom where “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there by any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:1-4)”. You can say with confidence: “I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me (Philippians 4:13).

You can learn one thing from failure: to trust in God (Proverbs 3:5); let Him direct your path all the time. With God you will surely attain victory, and the fulfillment of any endeavor for his glory.

Note: The verses used are taken from the King James version, 1611.

About the writer: Juan Ocasio-Borrero serves as a minister and preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Geneva, NY. Feel free to contact us at thehouseofruthministries@gmail.com and listen to Bible classes in YouTube: The House of Truth/Juan Ocasio Borrero.

USCIS – The New Deportation Machine?

by José Enrique Perez

Yes. Starting October 1, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin a Estados Unidos phased implementation of its June 28, 2018 Notice to Appear (NTA) Memorandum, which directs agency adjudicators to initiate removal proceedings against a broader group of foreign nationals.

An NTA is a document that instructs an individual to appear before an immigration judge. This is the first step in starting removal proceedings against them.

If applicants are no longer in a period of authorized stay, and do not depart the United States, USCIS may issue an NTA.

Before this memorandum, USCIS did not have this power. In point of fact, any foreign national who made an application before the Trump administration was safe even if the application was denied by the USCIS. This is not the case anymore.

According to the USCIS’s announcement issued last month, USCIS will apply the policy to Form I-485 permanent residence applicants and to Form I-539 applicants to extend or change nonimmigrant status. Employment-based petitions – including H-1B, L-1, E and O petitions – will not be subject to the enforcement policy at this time. Humanitarian application and petitions are allegedly also exempted.

USCIS first announced the NTA policy in July of this year, but deferred implementation while it developed internal guidance.

USCIS is soon expected to provide further information on how the NTA policy will be implemented. It is anticipated that a foreign national whose I-485 or I-539 application is denied and who has no underlying valid immigration status would receive a notice to depart the United States. Those who do not depart timely could be issued a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge, who would determine whether the foreign national should be removed from the United States or is entitled to legal relief that permits him or her to remain.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the new immigration policies. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with the filing of applications with USCIS. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case or potential case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the November edition.

Fuel Up!

Fuel Up- Healthy School Lunches and Snacks!
by SNAP-ED

It’s that time of the year again! Summer is coming to an end with the first day of school fast approaching. Focus on balance during September from cooking wholesome dinners to packing nutritious school lunches. A balanced eating plan includes whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy and colorful fruits and vegetables!

• Be mindful! Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables and focus on eating from all food groups.
• Eat slowly. You will be more likely to notice cues that let you know you’ve had enough to eat.
• Send the kids to school with food to keep them fueled and focused. Hard-cooked eggs, baked chicken, garbanzo beans, peas, or nuts are great protein choices that keep the brain and body energized.
• Don’t forget the veggies! Cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, carrots and green beans are easy to snack on and full of fiber. Dip them in hummus, low-fat ranch, tzatziki, or plain Greek yogurt!
• Color your meal. Fruits make for a yummy addition to any lunch! Cherries, apple slices, pears or orange wedges are a delicious way to add nutrients and color to a meal.
• The brain needs grains! Children’s brains need energy from whole grains (pasta, bread, rice) to be focused and do well in school. Start the day with a whole wheat English muffin, oatmeal, whole grain bread or whole grain cereal. Add low or non-fat dairy for a high protein, high energy, nutrition packed meal.

Send your child to school knowing they are eating well. Try out these easy recipes as school lunches or afterschool snacks!

Veggie Pockets: Cut a whole wheat pita in half and let kids add their favorite veggies. Sprinkle with low-fat cheese and a dab of dressing!

Simple Pizzas: Top a whole wheat English muffin with sauce, chopped vegetables and low-fat mozzarella, then toast lightly for a mini pizza!

Brain Boosting Trail Mix: Toss together dried fruit, mixed nuts, cereal and popcorn in a snack-size bag. This makes a filling, healthy snack you can bring anywhere!

Roll-Ups: Spread peanut or almond butter on a whole wheat tortilla, add sliced strawberries, roll it up for strawberry roll-ups! Or, layer a tortilla with deli turkey, low-fat cheese and lettuce for a turkey roll-up!

Let the kids help! When kids help create their lunch or snacks, they are more likely to eat it. Be creative and save money at the same time. Try making your own snacks and limit processed ones that could be high in added sugars, sodium or saturated fat. Start school off on the right foot this year and give the family food you feel good about.

United by the Music

United by the Music
by Félix Martínez Marrero

What is trova and how did it become part of typical Puerto Rican music? When is it heard? The trova is the poetic composition composed to be sung. It is the typical music of our ancestry. The trova is significant as a cultural expression. It is heard all year, although some relate it mostly to the Christmas season.

Like most Puerto Ricans who emigrate to the United States in search of a prosperous future for their families, 48 years ago, my parents and their 11 children did the same. One of those children was me. Although I came to Rochester as a young man, I have never stopped longing for my beautiful island, our culture and the neighborhood where I was born. That’s how music became my refuge, becoming the consolation of longing for the soil where I was born. From here came my dream of one day to record a CD of typical music. The years went by and I continued to be involved in music with Pedro Núñez, the Maso Rivera of Rochester who may rest in peace and Marcos Santiago, among others. Even if the temperature was below zero, I did not miss a “parranda”.

Six years ago I started trying to make my dream come true, but for one reason or another I could not achieve it. One day, talking with my wife Margarita, I decided to start communicating with friends who are involved in the music to see if I could achieved my purpose. I spoke with my friend Eliú De Jesús in Florida, who put me in touch with Josean Feliberty Colon in Puerto Rico and I from Rochester, NY, how would we achieve this get-together? It was this way that JFC Home Studio in Ciales, PR, Freddygeezstudio in Rochester, NY, and EDR Studios in Groveland, FL, joined by the music and started my long-awaited project. We started to decide which topics we would include: seises, aguinaldos, trullas… The recordings began in three different studios, “UNITED BY THE MUSIC”. Everything was ready with plans to go on the market in October 2017 and Hurricane María hit PR. It was necessary to postpone the release of the CD.

Originally the CD included eight songs. During the wait and hearing about the suffering of our Puerto Rican brothers, we were inspired by the last song which became the number one on the CD “Puerto Rico Rise Up” (Puerto Rico se Levanta in Spanish). Now the CD contains nine songs with five styles of six, three aguinaldos and a trulla. Each one with an original message of nostalgia for the country, a love story, a biblical message, a cultural controversy, a tribute to Don Pedro Núñez, among others. By obtaining this CD, you will join us, through music, to promote our cultural heritage and although far from the Puerto Rican soil, we will always carry it proudly in our hearts.