TYSA Launches “IN OUR BACKYARD”: A Virtual Campaign Bringing Awareness to Opioid Usage In Communities of Color

There is misinformation around the types of people that opioid use is impacting on Staten Island with the majority of focus on white, middle class, suburban residents despite rates of use and overdose among Black and Brown people and North Shore neighborhoods. TYSA aims to bring attention to the actual state of opioid use and overdose among communities of color, and build the capacity of local providers and clinicians to better prevent and treat opioid and other illicit drug use among communities of color on Staten Island.


During this time of stress and uncertainty, it is essential that Staten Islanders have access to substance use and mental health services and supports. The TYSA coalition is committed to supporting all its partners and the community in navigating our complex behavioral health system in this time of crisis. This page will be updated every few days to make sure the information is as useful as possible.

If you’re interested in volunteering with TYSA virtually, contact Jazmin at jazmin@sipcw.org. We will be holding regular virtual workgroup meetings, webinars, and community workshops over the coming weeks.

Mental health and substance use treatment services

Looking for a licensed mental health or substance use treatment provider? Telehealth allows you to access traditional healthcare without going into the clinic. Many Staten Island organizations are offering telehealth services that can connect with you even if you’re stuck at home. Please visit our resource page for phone numbers and website.


If you’re in crisis or need immediate support, use these hotlines:

  • Richmond University Medical Center: 718-818-6300
  • NYC Well: 1-888-692-9355 OR text 65173
  • RUMC Mobile Outreach: 718-818-6900
  • NYS Free Emotional Support Hotline: Thousands of therapists have signed up to offer free emotional support to New Yorkers who are struggling with the mental health impact of this pandemic. Call the state’s hotline at 1-844-863-9314 to get free emotional support, consultations and referrals to a provider.

If you are interested in talking to a peer:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness: Call 800-950-6264 or text NAMI to 741741

Online Support Groups

Virtual support groups for people using or recovering from substance use 



Groups for family members or loved ones

SMART Recovery for Family & Friends (www.smartrecovery.org)

Parents Resources

Now more than ever, parents should be talking to your children. With many schools and daycares closed, we are spending a lot more time together at home. Add in the stress of concern over this virus, and many adults and children may be feeling anxious.

Hotlines for support if your child has a substance use disorder:

  • Center for Addiction: 1855-378-4373 OR text 55753

General Guidelines for talking to your children about COVID-19 (National Association of School Psychologists)

  • Remain calm and reassuring
  • Make yourself available
  • Avoid excessive blaming
  • Monitor television viewing and social media
  • Maintain a normal routine to the extent possible
  • Be honest and accurate
  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19
  • Review and model basic hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices for protection
  • Discuss new rules or practices at school
  • Communicate with your school
  • Take time to talk with each other

Just Talk – Parents You Matter

Interested in a workshop to build your skills to communicate with your child, recognize changes in behavior, and find community resources for behavioral health? We offer our Just Talk – PYM virtually. Reach out to Abby at abigail@sipcw.org for more information.

Social Emotional Learning in the Home

In stressful times like these, it is important we maintain the social and emotional needs of our children. There are a number of resources available to support parents and educators in discussing the virus with their child, learning from home, and fun activities to do while inside.

Resources for People of Color

There are many resources for people of color during this time of crisis. Click here to visit NAMI for a list of resources.

Call the BlackLine for support: 1-800-604-5841

LGBTQ+ Resources

The NYC Unity Project provides a comprehensive catalog of mental and physical health, social, and legal aid resources. Visit their website to learn more about LGBTQ programs and services that are available citywide.

Community Resources

Feeling stressed or anxious during this time? Need to find a behavioral health provider? Check out some of our social media campaigns on maintaining positive behavioral health for yourself and your loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19: Access to Services & Social Distancing

Resources for Parents during COVID-19 Pandemic

Beat the COVID Blues & Suicide Prevention

About TYSA

Tackling Youth Substance Abuse (TYSA) is a coalition of people and organizations who have come together with a mission to decrease youth and young adult substance misuse on Staten Island. The coalition focuses all of its members on using their resources to help one another, and the whole community, combat substance misuse.

Contact TYSA

444 St. Marks Place
3rd Floor
Staten Island, NY 10301

Main Line: (718) 226-0258

For Media Inquiries:
Iris Kelly
(718) 226-0258

TYSA is a Proud Member

Buprenorphine Training Equips Staten Island Healthcare Professionals to Offer Medication-Assisted Treatment

There are many different paths on the road to recovery from opioid use disorder. Each individual must find the path that works for them, and sometimes that path involves medication-assisted treatment such as buprenorphine, also known as Bupe or its brand names Suboxone and Subutex.

Studies have shown that buprenorphine is highly effective in treating opioid use disorder. According to the results of a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) survey, physicians and patients reported an average of an 80% reduction in illicit opioid use, along with increases in employment and other determinants of health.

However, in order to be treated with buprenorphine, individuals seeking recovery must first find a provider who is certified (or waivered) to offer the treatment. With Staten Island being an epicenter of the opioid crisis, the Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness (SIPCW) and the Staten Island Performing Provider System (SI PPS) have been working diligently to ensure that this evidence-based treatment is available to all individuals in a primary care setting. Our vision is to have buprenorphine treatment integrated in healthcare providers’ offices across the Island, where opioid use disorder can be managed alongside a patient’s other health issues. To achieve this, SIPCW’s Nadeen Makhlouf, PharmD., MPH has been providing clinical coaching and support to existing buprenorphine providers in order to expand their services and to certify a new wave of providers to meet the need of the community. Through SI PPS’s Behavioral Health Infrastructure Project (BHIP), SIPCW coordinated a buprenorphine training at Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) this past Friday, provided by New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH).

While previous training sessions only reached a handful of Staten Island-based healthcare professionals, Friday’s training included 34 clinicians from various backgrounds and departments, willing and enthusiastic at the prospect of helping Staten Islanders achieve recovery. Due to the response to this event, SIPCW and NYC DOHMH are exploring additional training opportunities for local providers, including an event at Staten Island University Hospital – Northwell Health.

Makhlouf, SIPCW’s Senior Coordinator for Clinical Outreach and Education, arranged the event. “We’re so grateful to every single person in the room that took more than six hours out of their busy schedules for this vital training,” said Makhlouf. “This response has taught us that Staten Island healthcare providers and hospital systems understand the gravity of this crisis and the steps needed to help certain individuals find recovery. Thank you to all who supported this event, especially President and CEO of Richmond University Medical Center, Dr. Daniel J. Messina; the Staten Island Borough President James Oddo‘s Health and Wellness Director, Dr. Ginny Mantello; the Executive Director of the Staten Island Performing Provider System, Joseph Conte, PhD, CPHQ; and Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention, Care and Treatment at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dr. Hillary Kunins.”

To find a buprenorphine treatment practitioner, visit SAMHSA’s practitioner locator.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Seven Staten Island Stores Recognized as “Great Neighborhood Stores”

We asked, and Staten Island answered.



Staten Island Neighborhood Food Initiative and The Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness (SIPCW) asked Staten Islanders for the names of stores or restaurants with fresh produce, local ownership, healthy and tasty food, ethnic diversity and authenticity, and owners and managers who love their neighborhoods. More than 90 stores were recognized by community members as a “Great Neighborhood Store” and seven were selected as winners.



Tonight St. John’s University, Staten Island Campus, is holding the Difference Makers Certificate Ceremony to acknowledge Tottenville and Susan Wagner High School students who have worked on this important project and others for local non-profits. The event will be held in the gymnasium from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The seven winning stores will also be recognized.

SINFI decal is on display at Great Neighborhood Store winner Big Time Produce, 1361 Forest Avenue.

The winning establishments are:

Great Neighborhood Store winner Pastosa Ravioli, 1076 Richmond Road, shows off its nomination decal.

  • Big Time Produce, 1361 Forest Ave.
  • Everything Goes Book Café, 208 Bay St.
  • Jimmy Max, 280 Watchogue Rd.
  • Leo’s Deli, 1153 Forest Ave.
  • Pastosa Ravioli, 1076 Richmond Rd.
  • Seaside Turkish Restaurant, 124 Ocean Ave.
  • ShopRite, 985 Richmond Ave.

The Staten Island Neighborhood Food Initiative is a coalition of City Harvest, Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness, and other businesses, organizations, and individuals committed to making Staten Islanders healthier one neighborhood at a time by increasing access to and demand for healthy fruits and vegetables.


For more information about the Staten Island Neighborhood Food Initiative contact Susan Fowler at (917) 734-3746 or at sfowler@cityharvest.org.

Staten Island Advocates Rally to Demand More Aggressive Action by Congress and the President to End the Opioid Addiction Crisis

In alignment with International Overdose Awareness Day, community members and advocates gathered to demand a forceful federal response to the prescription opioid and heroin crisis. The FED UP! rally, including a sober softball game and candlelight vigil at Mount Loretto, took place yesterday and was hosted by Carl’s House, Dynamic Youth Community and many local organizations including the Tackling Youth Substance Abuse (TYSA) coalition.

The Staten Island rally was among dozens that were scheduled to occur in cities and towns across the United States coordinated by FED UP!, a coalition of organizations from across the country representing hundreds of thousands of families and individuals affected by the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths.

The United States is in the midst of the worst drug addiction epidemic in its history. Since 1997, rates of opioid use disorder have increased more than 900%. The sharp increase has led to record high levels of overdose deaths. Staten Island suffered over 100 opioid overdose deaths in 2016 alone. Though community organizations and local elected officials have responded with comprehensive and innovative programs and services, there remains a need.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In addition to funding for substance use disorder treatment, community members also organized to raise awareness of the opioid issue in the local community. Staten Island has a high need for resources but is simultaneously uniquely poised to respond as a collective in times of tragedy. This rally served as both an avenue to speak out and an opportunity to celebrate the resilience of Staten Island.

The event also raised awareness about the damage opioids and heroin is doing to young adults in our communities and educated people about treatment options available to those who need help. “We at DYC are doing all we can to alert, educate, and treat this addiction,” said William A. Fusco, DYC Executive Director. “We are working with the media: radio, television, magazines- all to spread the work and help educate the public, to help prevent more devastation.”

Many advocates at the rally were people who have lost loved ones to heroin and prescription opioids. “Heroin and opioids have claimed many lives on Staten Island,” said Marco Di Donna, Carl’s House. “There are resources in the community to prevent more families from suffering devastating losses.”