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katal newsletter – november 16, 2018

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In this issue…

Victory for Health & Harm Reduction in NY

Rallying to Dismantle Injustice

United State of Women & Katal

victory for health & harm reduction in ny


Author and journalist Maia Szalivitz (center), with Katal’s Keith Brown (L) and Cedric Fulton (R) at last weeks’ Call to Action conference in Albany, NY. 


Last week, two extraordinary steps were taken in our fight against the failed war on drugs. First, we co-sponsored a major convening about rolling back the drug war and reducing drug related harm and death. The convening, called Call to Action: A Safety-First Approach to the Opioid Epidemic, was designed to give treatment and service providers new ways of approaching addiction and drug use within the contexts of racial equity, harm reduction, brain development and learning, and decriminalization. We had a plethora of great speakers, including Maia Szalavitz, award-winning journalist and author of the book Unbroken Brain. Special thanks to our partners in the convening — Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Center, the Times Union, and the Alliance for Better Health


Full house last Thursday at the Call to Action: A Safety-First Approach to the Opioid Epidemic Conference.


The significant win of the week, however, was an announcement made at the conference by officials from the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), which regulates drug treatment programs in New York: they are changing state regulations related to drug treatment, removing the abstinence-only requirement for drug-treatment programs. This is big — the evidence is clear that recovery comes in many forms and abstinence is one approach, but shouldn’t be the only approach. By changing these regulations, it allows for an expansion of harm reduction-oriented approaches to addressing addiction and problematic drug use. This is an important victory won by harm reductionists, people in recovery, people who use drugs, drug policy reformers, and others who have been urging OASAS to take a more pragmatic, person-centered approach to its regulations. Katal is proud to have been a part of this fight for the last many years. 

See more about the conference from the Albany Times Union here.

To learn more and get involved with our health and harm reduction efforts, contact our Director of Health and Harm Reduction, Keith Brown at or 518.527.6263.


rallying to dismantle injustice


Impacted members of the community and NYS advocates call for lawmakers to repair the harms of mass incarceration.


Katal members and staff joined a broad cross-section of New York State advocates at speakouts in Albany and Manhattan this week, calling on the newly-elected Democrat-controlled NYS government to pass initiatives to end mass incarceration and promote justice. In Albany, we joined advocates from the Capital Region demanding change. In NYC, we joined a range of groups to hear a number of speakers eloquently demand real reform; speakers included Kassandra Frederique, New York Director of the Drug Policy Alliance; Victor Pate, NY Statewide Campaign Organizer for The Campaign For Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC); and Anthony Dixon, organizer with Release Aging People In Prison (RAPP).  

“Sometimes we are given small wins that are important for our communities, but often are not reflective of the kind of progressive, important, and incisive kind of reforms that New Yorkers deserve,” proclaimed Ms. Frederique in closing, urging lawmakers in New York to do more for justice. 

We’re organizing with our partners across New York and Connecticut, for bail reform, parole reform, arrest diversion, and more. Want to get involved? Want to learn more? In NY, please contact Cedric Fulton at, and in CT please contact Kenyatta Thompson at


united state of women & katal



Join us this Saturday, November 17, in Philadelphia, for the next event in the United States of Women Galvanize series. The event, Galvanize Pennsylvania, aims to arm “women with the tools and resources they need to keep organizing and fighting for gender equity.” Katal is thrilled to participate in this event and we are so proud to announce that our very own Donna Hylton, Senior Justice Fellow for the Women and Girls Project, will be this year’s Keynote Speaker! United State of Women joins with local and national organizations, and individuals from across the state to discuss issues that matter to women and girls, and to train women on steps they can take on organizing, running for office, leadership and entrepreneurship. They will create a community to continue to work together to make progress towards gender equality in our country and across Pennsylvania.

Please join us in Philly on Saturday, Nov 17 for this powerful and timely event. For details and to RSVP, visit:



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