Please Make Syringe Access a Google Business Category

by Maximilian Eyle

Have you ever wanted to find a great Chinese restaurant near you? How about an HIV testing center in your area? Fortunately, Google’s Business listings make finding these options very easy, with their basic information listed along with their location on a map. You can compare reviews, check if they are open, and more. This is accomplished by having businesses select from a long list of categories which define when and where it will appear in search results. These categories include everything from equestrian facilities to Syrian restaurants, Christian bookstores to yoga studios. Some of my favorite categories from the A section alone include Abrasives Supplier, Adult Day Care, and Angler Fish Restaurant. But if you travel down to the S listings, you will find that Syringe Exchange, Syringe Access, and other related terms are missing. How did a sophisticated registry from one of the world’s largest tech companies come to include such categories as “Nut Store” and “Shinto Shrine” while omitting one of the most important harm reduction resources available to us?

The history of Syringe Access Programs (SAPs) is an important one. The first government-approved SAP opened in the Netherlands more than 30 years ago, and they have since spread across Europe, North and South America, and parts of the Middle East. In the U.S., the Center for Disease Control emphasizes the importance of sterile syringe availability as a critical tool for reducing the dangers of injecting drugs. The idea behind it is simple: by providing people who inject drugs with sterile syringes, we can prevent the spread of HIV and other infections that are transmitted via needle sharing. SAPs also provide a resource for safely disposing of used syringes so they are less likely to be discarded in a public space. By 2002, SAPs had already removed 25 million used syringes from across the U.S.

Van Asher, Harm Reduction Services and Syringe Access Program Manager at St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction, has seen the impact of these programs first hand. “When SACHR began in 1990, there was a 60% HIV incidence rate among the city’s 250,000 people who injected drugs. As a result of [SAPs} and other similar program efforts, the HIV incidence rate in New York City has dropped to under 3% among people who inject drugs.” Furthermore, when a person who injects drugs is in touch with an SAP, they are more likely to receive overdose prevention education and other important harm reduction information. There is also a fiscal incentive to promoting SAPs in addition to the obvious public health motives. HIV/HCV and other infections transmitted through needle sharing can be very expensive to treat. The CDC reports that every dollar spent to expand access to sterile syringes would generate a return on investment of $7.58 due to disease treatment savings and other factors.

There is an ever-expanding list of business types in today’s world, and the purpose of this article is not to denounce Google. But in the face of today’s opioid epidemic, with overdoses rising to the number one cause of death for Americans under 50, listing Syringe Access Programs as a defined category within Google’s business search structure would be an easy and effective means of connecting people with harm reduction resources. By adding a couple lines of code, Google could tangibly help save lives. We hope they will take that step.

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


by Linda DeStefano
Translated into Spanish by Rob English

There were about 95 people who came to Onondaga Free Library on May 9 to hear Ted Barnett (“Dr. Veggie”) talk about Plant-Based Nutrition and Evolving Medical Paradigms.

Dr. Barnett is a partner in a radiology practice and somehow finds the time to also be the C.E.O. of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine, which he founded in 2015. This practice helps people to be healthy through plant-based nutrition, physical activity, stress reduction and other lifestyle improvements.

Dr. Banett used imaginative images to help him tell the story of how difficult it is to change medical paradigms, in one case taking a century. The first example was the importance of surgeons washing their hands after doing a dissection and before seeing a patient. The person who introduced this concept demonstrated that it worked by reducing the number of patients dying from infection. Nonetheless, this simple habit was ignored for many years while more people died needlessly.

The second example was the common practice of radical mastectomies to treat breast cancer. In addition to removing the breast, the surgeon would remove the muscle and lymphs. This extreme surgery stopped only after it was shown that a simple mastectomy was just as likely to stop the cancer as a radical mastectomy one.

The third example showed that surgery was not needed to treat ulcers; after proof that ulcers were caused by a bacteria, antibiotics were the proper treatment.

The point is that change happens slowly but physicians like Dr. Barnett are leading the way to a non-invasive approach to illness and health rather than undue reliance on surgery and prescription mediation. This is why another of his nicknames is “The high-tech doctor with the low-tech solutions”.

He also spoke at Upstate Medical University to about 30 medical students and one physical therapy student.

This popular event was co-sponsored by People for Animal Rights and the Syracuse Vegans Meetup Group. If you want to explore a plant-based diet, these groups can help you by inviting you to socials where all vegan food is served (but you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to attend). They also invite the public to films and speakers on this and related topics.

The contact for the Syracuse Vegans group is Marybeth Fishman, or (315)729-7338. You can find the group on Facebook, Instagram, and on the website.

Contact for People for Animal Rights is or (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. or PAR, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 13215-0358.

We can also provide you with contact information for national organizations which can offer lots of material and support, including free personal counseling if you are ready to try a plant-based diet. A plant-based diet means eating veggies, fruit, grains, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds and all the tasty food made from them while avoiding animal flesh and animal products (particularly dairy and eggs). YUM!

Even if it’s napkin please!

by Lilia M. Fiallo


Being in New York waiting for the train, in a clear season open sky that allowed to enjoy a fresh dawn of summer with the rising sun and a delicious temperature, absolute silence reigned among the passengers who anxiously awaited but it was abruptly interrupted by a loud and unexpected noise. It remains like a short film in my memory that moment when countless particles came out of the mouth of the character that was in front of me, to the left sheltered in the shadow of a column, without flinching and as if he were alone and in an open field, he broke the peace with his discharge that echoed in the place by the loudness of his sneeze. Alarming I remember the liquid atoms of various sizes that came out and flooded the environment to disappear apparently, but the truth is that all of his absorption we absorbed. So I thought, it will be good that we think about applying certain rules of urbanity when we’re in public!.

I found the perfect complement that was missing from my appreciation, in the Magazine Selections of January 2018 and here I transcribe it:

Anatomy of a Sneeze
by Brandon Specktor

Solid structure, liquid and sag at the same time, common sneezing is one of the most disgusting miracles that exist in nature. Lydia Bourouiba, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called them differently: violent respiratory events. In fact, that is the title of a recent study in which her team analyzes sneezing. Milliseconds to milliseconds with a high-speed camera and sophisticated computer models. Their findings? Sneezing is much more than dirtying a handkerchief, if could even influence the vision we have about the spread of diseases. Here are the details of what scientists see when you say: “iaaaa-chu”.

1. Just like the detonation of a firearm, the initial phase of expulsion lasts only a few milliseconds, but that’s enough for 40,000 drops of various sizes to go at the speed of a car on the road.

2. The larger droplet (in green) burst from the mouth and collapse by their own weigh in a matter of seconds. Average distance traveled: 0.91 to 1.98 meters.

3. In the “snorting” phase (in red), a turbulent puff of warm, moist air plows through the air in a swirling pattern with small sneeze droplets inside.

4. The cloud grows and loses speed absorbing air from the environment, but manages to drive the smallest drops, which will move away up to 7.92 meters from it’s point of origin.

5. Thanks to the cloud, the drops float enough to reach the ventilation grilles (and therefore, anywhere in a building).

Big problem! But the solution is at hand, when you sneeze, cover your mouth with your arm or a tissue: wash your hands and keep your germs to yourself.”

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.

“An Unexpected Diagnosis”

by Laura Hall, Spanish Teacher Shelburne, Vermont

In the fall of 2014, Laura Hall, a Spanish teacher in Shelburne, Vermont struggled through countless doctor visits and multiple misdiagnoses, losing nearly 15 pounds. Eventually, her doctors diagnosed her with active tuberculosis (TB) — which had likely been contracted in Peru while visiting family, but had been living dormant for years.

While it’s easy to believe that TB doesn’t affect Americans, approximately 13 million people in the U.S., have latent TB, and infecting approximately one-third of the people globally, making it one the biggest infectious disease killers worldwide.

TB is a potentially serious infectious bacterial disease that mainly effects the lungs and comes in two forms: latent and active. Latent TB has no symptoms and can live dormant in the body years, but can progress to active TB when a person’s immunity becomes weakened, becoming highly contagious. Given the silent symptoms of latent TB, people often aren’t diagnosed until it progresses to active.

“I remember getting the TB skin test and being told that it was negative,” Laura recalls. However, the test did not pick up her latent TB infection, showing a false negative, so she was not treated at that time. If Laura had been tested for latent TB with a more accurate blood test, doctors could have begun treatment to stop the infection before it progressed to active TB.

“As soon as I was diagnosed, I remembered all of the times I hugged and kissed my family while I had unknowingly had tuberculosis. I was so afraid that I may have made them sick,” Laura remembers.

Dr. Michael Lauzardo, Infectious Disease Specialist at the University of Florida says, “people who are from or who have recently traveled to high-risk areas should talk with their doctors about being tested. Most people do not understand their risks, which is why latent TB often goes undiagnosed.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, TB is eight times more prevalent in Hispanics compared to non-Hispanics.

Laura’s active TB forced her to be quarantined at home for months. “I couldn’t go out, see friends and was unable to teach for five months while I was being treated,” Laura says. “It was incredibly isolating. I remember the panic that developed at my school and local community when the Vermont Department of Health required that 500 students and co-workers be tested for TB after my diagnosis.” The department of health found nineteen children and two adults positive for latent TB.

Today Laura advocates for people to take control of their health and talk to their doctors about latent TB. By getting tested with a blood test, if positive, they can begin treatment to stop the infection before it progresses to active. Recently, the CDC issued a notification that IGRA (interferon gamma release assay) tests, such as QuantiFERON-TB® Gold Plus, will be required for all immigration screening starting October 1, 2018.

If you or a family member think you may be living with latent TB, talk to your doctor about getting tested for latent TB – and request the TB blood test. Learn more at

Living Will Versus Healthcare Proxy

by José Enrique Perez

We have been writing for several months about Immigration, Trump and the changes in policies by this new government. It is time to take a break from all that. Now, we should talk about planning for you, your family and your friends.

As we go about our daily activities, our minds are often filled with plans for the future. Rarely do we have time to consider what might happen if we were somehow rendered permanently unable to understand these future plans. This is why you should write down your wishes about the kinds of treatment you do or don’t want to receive and name someone you trust to oversee your care should you become unable to communicate these desires. There are two basic documents that allow you to do this; a living will and a healthcare proxy. You do not have to be sick or dying in order to execute these papers. In point of fact, you should do it when you are in your full and unclouded mind.

Living wills are not really wills at all. Instead, a living will is a document that you sign in advance in which you specifically set forth your decisions about health care treatment in case you become unable to communicate these instructions during terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness. Living wills can direct health care providers to withhold treatment, to allow for all available treatment options, or to choose some medical treatment options and reject others. A living will cannot be used to authorize the withholding of nutrition and hydration. If you wish to have nutrition and hydration withheld, you will need to execute a legal document called a healthcare proxy.

Because a living will involves complicated medical issues, you may want to consult with a doctor to help clarify different treatment options. Most importantly, living wills cannot take effect legally unless you are medically determined to be in a permanent vegetative state or terminally ill, and therefore unable to communicate.

Any competent person eighteen years of age or older can make a living will by signing it in front of two witnesses who in turn also sign the document, attesting that the document was signed in their presence. These witnesses must also be at least eighteen years old. The witnesses should not be related to you, and they should not be beneficiaries of your estate or have financial responsibilities for your medical care.

A living will is a simple form but you should have an experienced attorney review this document. Failing to properly complete a living will means that it will not be recognized and your wishes will not be carried out.

A healthcare proxy trumps a living will. This document gives another person the power to make health care decisions for you if you cannot make those decisions yourself. A healthcare proxy differs from a living will in that it authorizes you to appoint someone to carry out the living will’s instructions and/or to make decisions that you did not anticipate when you completed the living will. Also, a healthcare proxy does not depend on terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness to become effective. The person you name in your healthcare proxy should be someone you trust but they must be at least 18 years old, i.e. spouse or partner, relative or close friend. You should not choose your doctor, or an employee of a hospital or nursing home where you are receiving treatment. You can find a healthcare proxy form on the New York State Attorney General’s website:

Without a living will or healthcare proxy, family members end up arguing over what treatments should or should not be provided. The best approach is to complete both a living will and a healthcare proxy. The two will work together. Local senior centers may be good resources for help. Many of them have trained healthcare staff on hand who will be willing to discuss your healthcare options. The patient representative at a local hospital may also be a good person to contact for help. And if you have a regular physician, you can discuss your concerns with him or her.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about living wills and health care proxies. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with the execution of these documents. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in many cases. If you have any questions or concerns about a case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at 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 July edition.

The dangers of living in an Echo Chamber

by David Alfredo Paulino

As a society, the internet has been regarded as the great equalizer, it allows us to acquire most if not all the information in the world in the blink of an eye. Now in 2018, while that is most certainly the truth there seems to have been some complications with the internet and the kinds of information that one can receive. The internet has been transformed into informational camps created to house different tribes. The most famous of the tribes are the right, the left, conservatives, liberals, progressives…etc.

One would have thought that as a society this kind of tribalism would have been left in the past, since I thought that we have come to the realization that tribalism leads to a rigid and homogenous kind of environment. To stay in a rigid and homogenous environment stunts growth, maturity, and learning. 22 years ago, in 1996, MIT researchers, Marshall Van Alstyne and Erik Brynjoflsson thought of the potential negative aspect of such a connected world, “Individuals empowered to screen out material that does not conform to their existing preferences may form virtual cliques, insulate themselves from opposing points of view, and reinforce their biases”. Both researches were able to foresee the kind of environment that would be created.

It seems that people are just too scared to just listen to others just for the sake of being proven wrong, because if they are proven wrong then that means that their way of thinking was wrong and so on and so forth. Social media has become this echo chamber where we only hear and see the same kind of information that we are used to already seeing. The danger of living in that kind of environment is that it creates a box that one hides themselves in, and it also supports the mindset that everything one needs is inside this box and everything outside of it is wrong. This kind of thinking does not support diversity if anything it fragments and divides us.

Currently, it seems that nobody can have a peaceful discourse without a giant uproar or a screaming match between two parties. We now speak to disrupt and get our point across rather than listening and understanding each other. Just because one listens and tries to understand the other parties does not mean that you necessarily agree with them. This is how conflicts happen and inevitably wars begin.

Just because you do not agree with somebody does not mean that that person should not be able to express their opinion. This is regarding to many talks having to been cancelled due to students organizing and causing disruptions. If anything, those that do not agree with said speaker should attempt to have a conversation about why they may think that they are wrong. Denying the other side is essentially part of the problem, it does not allow for the diversity and inclusion of the other. This is not to lay blame at a specific realm of thought, if anything having everyone’s reluctant to understand the other side is problem.

This homogenous environment stunts our growth and our potential prosperity as a society. I would love to continue this kind of conversation if any are willing through twitter, follow @Alfredo_David1, so that we may try to understand each other a bit more.

My name is David Alfredo Paulino. I graduated from SUNY Cortland with a international studies major with a concentration in Global Political Systems and my minors are Anthropology, Latin American Studies, and Asia and the Middle East. I was born in Manhattan, NYC, but I currently live in the Bronx with my Mother, little sister, and Stepfather. Although I was born here, most of my fondest memories come from my frequent visits to the Dominican Republic, and always being there. I even stayed there for a year. Due to my constant going back and forth, I grew to love the atmosphere there and sometimes I yearn for it more than the actual city.

Grow a Family Garden!

Grow a Family Garden!
by CCE Onondaga – Eat Smart New York June 2018

Gardening offers great family fun. In a garden, you can be active, relax, and spend time together. Growing vegetables or herbs teaches children that plants, like people, need food and water to grow and stay healthy. Caring for plants helps develop responsibility. It also builds self-esteem when kids see what they can grow!

A garden can teach your child about new foods. Kids usually taste what they grow!

What you need:

• Containers for city gardens: milk and juice carton, empty cans, bucket
• Garden plot: a 2-foot plot is big enough. Hint: Preparing soil is hard for young children.
• Child-size tools: watering can, hose, small shovel, old spoon and fork, small rake, digging stick, hoe and spade, sticks to label plants
• Seeds or seedlings (young plants)
• Water for your hose or watering can
• Soil for container gardens
• Fertilizer: compost, manure, chemical types

Easy foods for kids to grow:

• Beets,* carrots,* cherry tomatoes,* collard greens,* cucumbers,* green beans,* herbs,* lettuce,* okra, onion,* peppers,* spinach, tomatoes, zucchini
• In windowsill pot: herbs, seeds to replant as young plants in the garden.
*This grows easily in a container

What would your child like to grow? Try them!

Most kids are proud of what they grow. Even when gardening is messy, your child is learning. It is okay if the garden is not planted perfectly. He or she can help with almost any gardening task, such as:

• Pick the vegetables or herbs we will grow.
• Make the soil ready in a container or in the garden.
• Plant seeds or small plants in the soil.
• Water plants when they are thirsty.
• Pull the weeds.
• Make something to eat with your family. Use the food you pick.

For recipes and tips for healthy eating and active living visit our website at