March 16, 2020 – I write this message on behalf of all of us at LAC to let you know that our team is closely monitoring developments regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) and adapting accordingly to ensure we can continue our important work during these uncertain and challenging times.
To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, and to honor the social distancing guidelines put forth by the CDC, LAC has enabled all of our staff to work remotely through March 27 – at which time we will reevaluate the situation and make a decision for moving forward. LAC remains operational and is taking the following steps:
- All internal and external in-person meetings are being held virtually via video and phone.
- RAP Sheet workshops, which take place weekly in our NYC office, will be postponed until further notice.
- We will continue to take and field client inquiries and requests for technical assistance via phone.
- Many of our trainings are accessible virtually, and any in-person trainings that cannot be facilitated in this format will be postponed until further notice.
In moments of crisis like this, the power of community is more important than ever – as is our mission to protect and defend those in our community at greater risk.
Individuals with substance use disorders, mental health issues, HIV, AIDS, and other chronic illnesses, as well as those who are justice-involved, are in need of even stronger support – the multitude of barriers they face in accessing life essentials is even higher.
LAC will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to reduce discriminatory barriers and expand opportunities, so that the right to health and wellbeing extends to ALL individuals, including people who are incarcerated or otherwise involved in the criminal justice or child welfare systems.
- We must keep people out of jail and prison whenever possible and ensure that those who are incarcerated are not subject to undue risk of contracting the virus.
- We must hold health insurers accountable to cover needed care, including substance use disorder and mental health care that will be even more necessary during this pandemic – and to make these services more readily available through telehealth.
- And we must work proactively and efficiently to expedite emergency supports that address co-occurring and compounding crises such as economic distress and housing instability.
LAC is committed to the health and wellbeing of our staff, our clients, and our community, and we will continue to combat fear, stigma, discrimination, and injustice with courage, compassion, inclusion, and action.
Please take care of yourself and each other – and remember, we are all in this together.
Paul Samuels and the entire LAC family
Helpful Links (check back for updates to this list)
- CDC information on managing anxiety and stress during this time
- COVID-19 Guidance from SAMHSA
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): What the CDC Is Recommending to HIV/AIDS Clinicians via TheBodyPro
- Coronavirus Resources from the American Society of Addiction Medicine
- Coronavirus Resources from the National Health Law Program
March 27, 2020: Click here for an infographic detailing LAC’s ongoing and evolving efforts in response to COVID-19.