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Sam Rivera: The Impact of Overdose Prevention Centers

By April 10, 2022No Comments

Sam Rivera, Executive Director of OnPoint NYC, joined us to discuss the operation of two overdose prevention sites in New York, the first in this nation’s history. He discussed the sites’ success using our most recent data, and highlighted their impact on the surrounding communities, the organization’s innovative procedures as it pertains to overdose intervention, as well as the need for other jurisdictions to open similar sites.

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Sam Rivera has over 29 years of progressive experience in social services. His primary focus of expertise lies in Criminal Justice/Reentry, HIV/AIDS, Harm Reduction, Addiction/Recovery, and Mental Health. He currently serves as the Executive Director of New York Harm Reduction Educators and Washington Heights Corner Project, two merging harm reduction organizations that provide services to active drug users and sex workers in Northern Manhattan and The South Bronx, many of whom are low-income or homeless as well as of color and LGBTQ.

He brings to this role his several decades of cutting-edge service provision experience and a commitment to social justice. He has dedicated his professional career to ameliorating the harms associated with the War on Drugs, racism/sexism, structural inequality, and mass incarceration and will continue to work to end systemic as well as systematic barriers to populations that are most vulnerable.

If you question whether harm reduction works, I can’t help but wonder if you have ever actually seen what happens in these spaces. We promote health, safety, and dignity, and it works. It is simple, beautiful, and it changes people’s lives -Haven Wheelock

Sunday Platform is our most important and long-standing community event. These gatherings educate, stimulate personal growth, inspire reflection and action, and strengthen our community. Sunday meetings usually begin with music, followed by greetings and a talk given by a Society Leader, member, or guest.  Platforms cover a variety of topics that reflect current events, pressing social issues, and Ethical Culture philosophy. A collection basket is passed and money is shared between the Society and a charity selected for that day.  While contributions are always appreciated, Sunday meetings are free and open to the public.  Each Sunday meeting is followed by a luncheon and social hour.

To view previous Sunday Platform addresses and interviews, visit our Videos page and YouTube channel.

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