The underlying headline is that we, as a group, must unify our efforts on all fronts to protect all of these individuals, which unfortunately include friends, family, and loved ones. Substance Use Disorder indeed does not discriminate! Let’s up our awareness, prevention efforts, and of course interdiction.
In this season of Thanksgiving, I felt it appropriate to share some of the many things we at The SASSI Institute are thankful for. This past year has demonstrated our human potential and tenacities in so many ways. Despite the over five million worldwide deaths directly attributable to the COVID virus, our healthcare, teaching and service staff, and yes you, all of the treatment and human service professionals throughout the world have demonstrated that we may have been down, and maybe down again, but we always get back up. There are indeed so many of us that have lost loved ones, friends, or colleagues. Our hearts go out to them. In honor of their suffering and loss, we offer our condolences, our understanding, and our love.
But the proverbial light is there. We can finally see what may be an end to this horrific pandemic. Thanks to the scientific community and healthcare workers throughout the world, we are finally seeing a reduction in case numbers, and hopefully soon, our ability to declare a finality to this dire and deadly disease. If nothing else, it has proven we are all one people, and that our unity truly stands stronger than any divisiveness. Through it all, we have managed to be there for one another, for our friends, colleagues, and our families. We have remained united, and that is and should continue to be foremost in all our minds, and meriting of our thankfulness.
In the meantime, our Board of Directors, senior management staff, and I want to reassure you that despite the multiple supply chain issues, inflationary pressures, and uncertain economic environment, we have once again decided this year to maintain our pricing structure such as it is. We at The SASSI Institute are doing our best to allow you, our licensees, and collaborators to continue to do your jobs, offer the many services you offer, and continue to assist those that need us the most, those still suffering through substance use, co-morbidities and in some cases along with COVID and other health issues, tri-morbidities. This year has also seen many changes in our operational structures and the various features we offer here at The Institute. I am extremely proud of our staff and the non-stop work they have executed this year. Our Training Director has overseen one of our most successful initiatives, The Professional Development Workshops series. In addition to the many trainings we have offered over the years, we now also have nationally recognized experts providing Continuing Education approved training related to substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders, and the incorporation of our SASSI tools in assessment packages for specialized populations. Our customer service, clinical, and IT teams as always, remain at your disposal and are providing non-stop services to facilitate your administration and interpretation of our many tools. I anticipate several other exciting initiatives to come, and we will inform you of them as they develop.
In the meantime, be kind to yourselves, and let’s make it our mission to take care of each other, and most of all let’s remember to be thankful!
For more than a year now, our lives have been literally turned upside down. Many of us have lost loved ones and friends or had them severely affected by this terrible pandemic. It has caused upheavals in basically all areas of our lives.
But I think it is safe to say that we are finally turning the corner. Science tells us that the required herd immunities and vaccinations are soon to be at optimal levels. Here at The SASSI Institute, we are at more than 95% capacity. And I am so proud of our staff, their dedication and professionalism as they continued to serve you, the heart of our business. They were with you through thick and thin, and despite the multiple obstacles, collectively we accomplished an extraordinary level of achievements throughout this time. For example, we have multiple publications that are now in the public domain. Please contact our Customer Service Team if you are interested in any of them, they are free of charge. If interested in our Training services and availabilities, contact our Training Director Ms. Scarlett Baker, or our Executive Assistant, Ms. Lauren Nelson. Kristin Kimmell LMSW, LCAC, our Clinical Director and her team are available for any of your clinical concerns. And by the way, Lauren also serves as our IT specialist, so she is available for any mishaps in your IT service provision.
In sum, I am very proud of you, our customers for maintaining our collaborations, our staff for making that possible, and to the many, many individuals we serve, may their path to recovery be enlightened by your services.
With warm regards,
This year has been unusual in so many respects. Our resolves, faiths, and tenacities have been tested for over ten months now. We have suffered losses and multiple pains, including emotional, mental and physical. We have endured an almost constant barraging drain on our senses. For over two straight weeks now we have experienced more than 100K daily COVID-19 cases nationally. As a result, many of us have lost loved ones, friends, or colleagues. Many more have been unable to see our loved ones, but for the benefits of social media.
I for one, have been unable to see, hold, and hug my family for close to a year. I consider the risks too high to endanger myself and those I love any more than I have to. But I also know I am not alone and I know we are looking forward to a really great Holiday season next year; we will celebrate twice as hard in 2021. Various vaccines and antibody drugs are in development, and we should all be immensely grateful to all of the scientists, nurses, doctors, caregivers, and caretakers, that risk their lives daily in the hopes of developing something fast, and caring for the ill until we do.
Yet the truly amazing thing, what is truly astonishing is that despite these pains, throughout these arduous journeys, throughout these uncertainties, we have found the inner strength and fortitude to trudge on. A true testament to the human spirit. Through it all, we have managed to be there for one another, for our friends, colleagues, and for our families. We have remained united, and that should be foremost in all our minds.
In my humble opinion, in order to succeed and defeat this Pandemic in the end, it is in our best interests, indeed our civic duty to maintain our focus on what needs getting done. Let’s each do our part by adhering to the CDC’s policies and protocols. It also our fervent hope that at some point soon, the entire country is protected with enough COVID vaccinations that we successfully eradicate this Pandemic as we have historically done to other calamitous diseases in the past.
In the meantime, our staff, Board of Directors, and myself, offer you only the best for the coming year. Better times lie ahead!
Be kind to yourselves and let’s make it our mission to take care of each other, as best we can.
On Monday, November 9th,the CEO of Pfizer announced positive early results from its coronavirus vaccine trial, citing an over 90% effectiveness rate during its first phase of clinical trials. This is truly monumental news of worldwide significance. This fact has renewed hope throughout the country, indeed throughout the world, that we were finally coming closer to achieving a response to this deadly Pandemic. We at The SASSI Institute maintain our fervent hopes that in light of the over 100,000 daily national cases that have now become the norm, as a country and internationally, we will soon be able to eradicate this unfathomably terrible disease.
Given the recent spikes, like so many other businesses throughout the country, we recently had to again minimize our in-office time for all staff, including our shipping department. Nevertheless, all of our departments are open for business, and we want to reassure you that we will ship your products out on time, and as promised. We also want to remind you that we maintain our schedule of a December 1st SASSI Adolescent-3 release and that we have several articles in submission while we await their scientific review. Please contact our Customer Service team for pre-ordering information, and/or our Training Department for our upcoming training schedules.
I am delighted to announce that our Board of Directors and management team want to assure you that given this calamitous year, and in the hopes of giving our customer base a hand-up, we will not be raising prices in 2021. In fact, if you are experiencing financial difficulties, please contact our Customer Service Team and/or our Training team. They are more than willing to make suitable payment arrangements and offer their assistance during these difficult times.
We sincerely hope that you, your families, and colleagues remain safe. We remain confident that better times lie ahead!
We wanted to provide you some important SASSI updates. We’re excited to announce that the research findings on the adolescent SASSI-A3 have been published! Within the coming weeks and next few months, we will be concentrating our efforts on publishing the SASSI-A3 instrument, which similarly to the adult screening tool, now includes a prescription drug scale and greater sensitivity to opioids and prescription medications. The updated instrument will available on our online platform immediately on the release date. We will provide additional details and pre-ordering information as soon as we have a confirmed availability date. You can read the published finding here: Validity of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Screening Inventory-3 (SASSI-A3). We also expect to publish other manuscripts examining co-occurring disorders among some of these adolescents; and the increase and dangers of Vaping as a drug source for them and adults, which has increased dramatically in recent years. These manuscripts are in submission and we hope to have them published by year end as well.
On another note, despite wonderful advances in securing possible cures and vaccines, COVID-19 clinical trials, and worldwide collaboratives to address this virus, the unfortunate reality is that the case numbers continue to climb and sadly, the death toll continues to rise. This has forced many states and local governments, and even the federal government, to change well thought initiatives and plans, and even back-track on some of the openings and relaxing of public health statutes. As a result, many private practitioners and even some long-standing programs have had to continue furloughing operations, or sadly cease operating altogether. With even greater sadness, we have heard multiple reports from the substance abuse, treatment, and correctional field/s about the loss of family, colleagues and friends to this devastating disease, and our hearts and prayers continue to go out to their families.
The SASSI Institute remains committed to helping you stay connected and feel supported during this period of uncertainty. We will be informing you of developments as they occur on our end. But for now, please accept heartfelt wishes from all of us, that you and your families remain safe.
We will get through this together!
In a previous post, we discussed how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the substance use disorder field throughout the country. Unfortunately, last week showed a dramatic increase in the number of reported cases nationally, particularly towards the end of the week (more than 40,000 additional reported cases, mostly from the west coast and southwest). As a result, many colleagues that had reopened for business to provide clients with critically needed services, unfortunately, had to close their doors again. Locally, we also experienced spikes. Not unexpectedly, we have seen a larger number of conference and venue cancellations than the already high numbers of cancellations reported previously. Fortunately, several venues have opted to hold teleconferences, thus allowing for a return to some semblance of normalcy.
Our number one concern at The SASSI Institute is maintaining the safety and care of those in the greatest need of help, the clients under your care. To do so effectively and efficiently, counselors, therapists, doctors, nurses, and all of us collectively, that engage in the work we do, must prioritize taking care of ourselves and practice the necessary precautions to enable those protections. We must adhere to the recommended CDC guidelines, including practicing social distancing, and engaging in frequent hand-washing.
We want to report that internally, as a result of some local area infection spikes, regretfully we had to postpone the dates when we expected full operational in-house staffing. Despite this needed precaution, we have maintained our shipping capacity of paper products and our SASSI-Online platform is fully operational. All other departments remain available during normal work hours to answer questions and provide assistance.
We are also very happy to report that our research department has three articles submitted for publication. And perhaps most importantly, we continue to ardently work on the upcoming release of the third iteration of our adolescent screening tool (SASSI A3). As previously reported, our adolescent “Fake Good” article was published in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly in late December 2019.
The SASSI Institute remains committed to helping you stay connected and supported during the COVID-19 crisis and these other periods of strife. As always, please accept our heartfelt wishes that you and your families remain safe.
Dr. Nelson Jose Tiburcio, CEO
We at The SASSI Institute wanted to update you on the COVID-19 crisis and how we see it affecting the substance use disorder field, not only here in southern Indiana, but also as reported from our many contacts throughout the country. The unfortunate reality is that many private practitioners, and even some long-standing programs, have had to furlough operations or sadly, cease operating altogether. We have lost many colleagues and personal friends to this devastating disease from the substance abuse, treatment, and correctional field/s, and our hearts and prayers go out to their families. Another grim reality is that those in greatest need of our help, our patients, are most at risk during these precarious times of calamity. Sadly, many of our gathering spots, conventions, and venues have been cancelled or postponed, in some cases, for several months. These venues allow us to dialogue, and although we may not always agree, the sharing of information and ideas is what ultimately makes us stronger.
Internally, within the coming weeks, we will increase our shipping capacity for paper products to three days a week, depending on demand. And as I said in an earlier post, we are all looking forward to getting back to full operational capacity soon, but first and foremost, our greatest concern is the safety and well-being of our staff and customer base. During normal work hours, we remain available to answer questions, assist with order placement, and provide clinical support. Our SASSI-Online platform is fully operational, and staff remain available to offer assistance, technical support, and guidance as needed.
I would be remiss if I didn’t call attention to the racial, political, and criminal justice divisions that are currently affecting our country in so many devastating ways. Black lives DO matter, as do the lives of us all. These and so many other serious issues are affecting our country presently. It is no longer acceptable for us to simply state words; indeed it is now a time more than ever for us to unite and not divide. Regardless of race, creed, color, religion, sexual orientation, or political persuasion, we must focus our energies on that which will make us all collectively stronger. We must infuse a greater awareness of injustice in its many forms and manifestations, address these whenever possible, and enhance the dialogue leading to collective, constructive action. For us to become a greater part of the solution in creating a more just society, we must first understand that all of us can and must play a role.
The SASSI Institute remains committed to helping you stay connected and feel supported during the COVID-19 crisis and these other periods of strife. We will be informing you of developments as they occur on our end. But for now, please accept heartfelt wishes from all of us, that you and your families remain safe. #alonetogether
We will get through this together!
Dr. Nelson Jose Tiburcio, CEO
The SASSI Institute is committed to helping you stay connected and feel supported during the COVID-19 crisis. The sudden changes and disruptions to our daily lives coupled with the unknowns about the immediate future can be scary and stressful. For those in the substance use disorder field, these disruptions can be particularly stressful as we are already addressing the critical needs of our clients.
As you can see by visiting our site, blogs or other social media outlets, although presently all our staff members are telecommuting because of state mandated “stay at home” policies, we remain available during normal work hours to answer questions, assist with order placement, clinical support and technical guidance as needed. Our SASSI-Online platform is fully operational, and our teams remain available to offer assistance and support. On April 6th, our Governor modified the stay at home ordinance such that we are now capable of shipping paper products one or two days a week. At some point soon, we are hoping to get back to full operational capacity.
We will be informing you of developments as they occur. But for now, please accept our heartfelt wishes that you and your families remain safe.
We will get through this together!
Dr. Nelson Jose Tiburcio, CEO