Helping Underserved Communities with Opioid Addiction
Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Robert J. Budsock, President & CEO, Integrity House, to talk about the surge in opioid deaths across New Jersey and strategies to expand access to treatment services for people in underserved communities.
"We welcome, once again, Robert Budsock, who is president and CEO of an organization called Integrity House. For those who do not know, Bob, what is Integrity House? And why does it matter? So Integrity House has been operating in Newark, New Jersey since 1968. We also have facilities throughout Northern New Jersey. Integrity House, our mission is to provide opportunities for individuals to reclaim their lives. So our primary purpose is to work on individuals who are battling addiction. And we look at providing the addiction treatment. And then all of the other services that are critical for an individual to get back on... Such as? So what happens is that when someone is impacted by addiction, there's a breakdown in many areas of their lives. So they neglect their physical health, their mental health, even something as basic as dental care. In addition to that, many of the folks that we work with, they either dropped out of high school, or maybe they dropped out of college. They do not have a good work history. So what we look to do at Integrity House is, yes, we provide the addiction treatment. But in addition to the addiction treatment, we take a look at all those other areas of the law... of their lives, and we ensure that they're getting the medical treatment, mental health treatment, dental treatment, and also the educational vocational skills that they need to really put their lives back together again. Rob, you and I were talking, right before we got on the air. There are two issues that I want to talk about here. Yeah. One is the stigma... the social stigma, and the degree to which it's still there around addiction. But the other piece is, in the African- American community, there's research from the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that talk specifically about an increase, a significant increase... is it just in opioid addiction? No. Our inner-city communities, with a high minority population, continues to get hit hard by the opioid epidemic, and also the many other issues that these communities have been dealing with for many years. You know, here in the City of Newark, yes we have an opioid epidemic, and a lot of the folks that are from the City of Newark are impacted by that epidemic. But you also have the epidemic of cocaine, of alcohol, and then also to synthetics. When I say synthetics, you hear a lot about ecstasy. Right. But there's also other synthetics that, you know, at one time, they were being sold at gas stations and bodegas. They're called, like, K2 and Spice. It's like a synthetic marijuana that has really, you know, devastating impact on the individuals that use it..."