Tag: Coronavirus

Coronavirus Vaccine Hopes

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 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!

Stay safe!

Warmly,

Hope Remains: Attacking some of the Veiled COVID-19 Challenges

This has been an interesting year hasn’t it? I’ve worked in the behavioral health field, primarily substance use disorder, since 1989. During those 31 years I’ve never come across the types of challenges I’ve seen this year, for those struggling with substance addiction and for those healthcare providers trying to help them.

“Social isolation” is the new mantra in the culture and yet it is the very thing that is anathema to behavioral health counselors trying to help individuals coping with addiction. Resources are going out of business and events which once brought enjoyment, support, solidarity and an alternative to substances for having fun are being cancelled one after another. Fear is paramount, and it’s drastically shaping the face of addiction and recovery. We are seeing more initiation of substance abuse, more cycles of relapse and overdose, and more barriers to successful recovery in order to cope with a world in chaos. While outpatient treatment programs have successfully used technology to transition to online counseling groups, this has presented a barrier for those without the resources to purchase the technology needed to participate. For the last 10 years, I’ve worked for a local non-profit treatment center for women and adolescent girls here in Dallas, Texas called Nexus Recovery Center. Recently, the Executive Director, Heather Ormand, wrote the following in a blog post:

“COVID-19 has stripped so many sober women of our community. Twelve-step meetings are no longer being held in churches.  Churches are closed or access is limited and people are afraid to sit shoulder to shoulder right now. For those with long-term sobriety and a strong support system, we can probably get by with Zoom twelve-step meetings, reading literature and connecting with other sober women via text or calls. But what about the woman struggling in her disease? The woman isolated in an unsafe home without the resources to leave and get treatment? The woman without a place for her children to go while she tries to piece together continuous days of sobriety and start rebuilding their lives?”

But there is hope. Treatment staff have proven that they are indeed essential, and programs like those at Nexus Recovery Center are showing that recovery staff are willing to risk getting sick themselves in order to help another human being break the cycle of addiction. They are showing that empathy and compassion and hope can still be conveyed through a mask or through a live, online group or individual counseling session. We can still find innovative ways to connect and share our experience, strength and hope with those who are struggling to find someone who cares.

I’ve also been associated with The SASSI Institute as a trainer for the past 25+ years and have found them to be an organization that strives hard to give agencies effective and easy to use resources for helping identify individuals struggling with a substance use disorder and guiding them to the most appropriate path for their recovery journey. I’m also proud to have been allowed to help people on The SASSI Institute’s Clinical Helpline for the past few years. One consistent thing I hear from callers is how much they appreciate the fact that they can reach out in frustration or puzzlement over a client they are working with, and how those on the Clinical Helpline are always there to help them work through a SASSI screening result, craft how to phrase the results to the client or in a report, and guide them in helping clients discover things about themselves, in order to initiate their recovery process. The SASSI Institute, though at a “social distance,” is there for me like a warm blanket on a cold night and for many other behavioral health workers in the US and in other countries who sometimes just need a willing ear to process some of their cases and SASSI results. Working together we can get through 2020 and beyond, despite any obstacles.

The Latest Research and COVID-19 Update from the CEO

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.                                   

#alonetogether

Warm Regards,

Dr. Nelson Jose Tiburcio, CEO

An Update from the 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!

Warm Regards,

Dr. Nelson Jose Tiburcio, CEO

SASSI Plan for COVID-19: Exposure, Prevention, Preparedness, and Response

The SASSI Institute takes the health and safety of our employees very seriously.  With the spread of COVID-19, the Company must remain vigilant in mitigating the outbreak.  We are committed to helping people who suffer from substance use problems and the professionals who serve them. In order to be safe as we reopen operations, we have developed this COVID-19 Exposure, Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Plan.  Of course, we will continue to monitor the related guidance that CDC and OSHA provide.

Read more

An Update from the 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.

#alonetogether

We will get through this together!

Warm Regards,

Dr. Nelson Jose Tiburcio, CEO

SUD Screening, Telehealth, and the Coronavirus Pandemic

Due to the continuing outbreak of COVID-19 cases throughout the world, infectious disease experts have recommended reducing face-to-face contact and social distancing as much as possible to avoid spreading the virus. Many counseling and treatment providers are now looking to boost their adoption of virtual communication (telehealth) as a tool during this time. Congress also recently passed legislation allowing professionals to bill Medicare for patient care delivered by telehealth during the current coronavirus public health emergency (congress.gov).

Because early intervention saves lives, it is vital that screening individuals for SUD not get delayed during this pandemic and that access to treatment be available. If you are not already aware, the adult, adolescent, and Spanish SASSI screening tools can be administered to a client remotely via SASSI Online. Choose the “Email direct link to client” option when assigning a questionnaire administration, and your client can complete it at their location via the internet.

If you are not currently a SASSI Online user and would like to try it risk-free, please contact our customer service team at 800.726.0526 or sassi@sassi.com.

Thank you for all the work you do!