Dr. Nelson Jose Tiburcio, is a Latino drug and alcohol researcher, originally from New York City. His academic degree is in Criminal Justice from the Graduate Center of New York and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. His training and expertise have been in the areas of substance use and abuse, sustained opioid recovery, public health, HIV/HCV prevention and treatment, community reentry, recidivism, cultural competence and health literacy in major urban areas. During a period of over twenty years, he has led, directed and/or collaborated on studies investigating the various initiates and public health consequences of illicit drug use, mostly heroin and prescription opioids but including cocaine, crack and other drugs among them.

“Common consequences resulting from the difficulty of sustaining abstinence are high relapse rates, and for many individuals, cycling in and out of prisons, detoxes, rehabs, therapeutic communities and then “back out there” into active use. Once released from these institutional environments, additional consequences include overdose risk, and of course exposure to HIV and HCV. These risks affect not only the individuals themselves, but their families, friends and loved ones as well. I also noticed that very few managed to avoid these patterns. For many re-entering their communities from jails, prisons and other institutional settings, the prospect of re-entering conventional society was compromised by the fact that they were still unprepared to mitigate the risks that led to their substance abuse and/or incarceration. These difficulties appeared to be the driving force behind their relapse and recidivism. As may very well be the experience for your own clients, for so many, it boiled down to their being unable to identify, accept and understand that they had a problem and importantly, that these drug-related problems are treatable.”

The SASSI Institute and the work Dr. Glenn Miller founded provide significant synergies with Dr. Tiburcios’s own life-works. The SASSI mission and dedication to supporting and responding to the needs of clinicians, justice professionals, researchers, and educators who work with those affected by substance misuse closely matches his passions and directions in the substance abuse field. Dr. Tiburcio’s experiences with community-based and longitudinal research studies and clinical practice lending “voice” to the populace we serve is instrumental towards achieving these objectives. This is especially true for those affected individuals who might be unsure or unaware of the detrimental effects of their continued substance use. In combination with other psychological measures, counseling and cooperative agreements and similar working relationships, our screening and counseling work can be used to help individuals identify and effect change in self-perception, with an ultimate goal of achieving and maintaining a greater sense of self-respect and respect for others. This is the true SASSI mission.

“As the Chief Executive Officer, I realize that building on Glenn’s work is admittedly no easy task, but I do so wholeheartedly. I am confident that together with the SASSI staff, colleagues, clinicians and consultants our endeavors will help fulfill the mission which is at the core of The SASSI Institute: to provide the critically needed services and assistance to those suffering from substance use disorders and the professionals who serve them. I am elated to lead this mission and together, accomplish our common goals.”

Nelson Jose Tiburcio Photo
Nelson Jose Tiburcio PhD

Portions of this were originally published in SASSI News & Reports Volume 16, Number 1, 2015

CEO Updates from the Blog:

December 31, 2020

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… Read more

November 19, 2020

Dear Friends, 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… Read more

September 3, 2020

               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 be available on our online platform… Read more

July 2, 2020

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… Read more

June 18, 2020

                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… Read more

April 9, 2020

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… Read more