Pregnant? Pass on the Pot

Many women understand the dangers of drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes while pregnant but are unaware that smoking marijuana while pregnant is also detrimental to the baby's health. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical compound found in cannabis, is able to cross the placenta and enter the baby’s system. Additionally, THC and other chemicals can pass through breast milk to the baby while mothers are breastfeeding. A baby exposed to THC may have issues like interference with fetal brain development, lower birth weights, higher risk of admission to the neonatal intensive care unit, and more. Additionally, an ACS case is immediately opened when a baby tests positive for THC. 

  The PILLARS Chief Executive Officer, Felecia Pullen, rallying the team outside of the Ulysses. S. Grant Houses. 

The PILLARS Chief Executive Officer, Felecia Pullen, rallying the team outside of the Ulysses. S. Grant Houses. 

In partnership with Safe in Harlem, Harlem Hospital, the New York Police Department (NYPD), ThriveNYC, the Army National Guard Counter-Drug Task Force and the office of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, The PILLARS began a campaign within Harlem NYCHA Developments to disseminate information to women on the topic so that they can be prepared to have a healthy pregnancy and in turn a healthy baby. The campaign began on Thursday March 29th at the Ulysses S. Grant Houses.

  Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer, with partners disseminating information at the Ulysses S. Grant Houses. 

Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer, with partners disseminating information at the Ulysses S. Grant Houses. 

The PILLARS is offering a FREE eight-week program called "Love Yourself, Love Your Baby". This program will be offered to pregnant women who want to learn holistic ways to deal with stress. We believe we can't just ask them to put marijuana aside without helping them pick up something in its place that is healthy and sustainable. The program will begin on Thursday April 26th for eight consecutive weeks, and will include services like yoga, meditation, and acupressure.

Check out the following article in the Manhattan Times for more information:

https://www.manhattantimesnews.com/pregnant-pass-on-the-potembarazada-rechace-la-hierba/

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In Brett's Honor

 The PILLARS ribbon cutting ceremony

Brett should have been there.

Ann Bacek’s son Brett was a close friend of Felecia Pullen, who held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for her new facility and was joined by elected officials and community partners for the happy occasion.

But Bacek explained that her son died from substance abuse in December 2016.

After being clean for nearly 13 years, Brett suffered a relapse.

“I thought I was good, I thought he’d made it,” said Bacek. “It shows that the battle of addiction is ongoing. It never stops.”

She spoke at the opening of Pillars Recovery Center, a new space in Harlem providing free services for people recovering from substance abuse as well as their families – together with Felecia Pullen, its Chief Executive Officer, and Brett’s friend.

Harlem's PILLARS Recovery Center

City and State officials celebrated the opening of Harlem’s first center for substance abuse recovery Tuesday afternoon.

The new Pillars Recovery Center on 289 St. Nicholas Avenue near West 125th Street will help people maintain sobriety after drug addiction treatment through services such as support and educational groups and 12-step programs, officials said Tuesday.

The program was created by Harlem resident Felecia Pullen. The Fordham News reports that Pullen is a doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Social Service researching how addiction affects her Harlem neighborhood. She is the president of Let’s Talk SAFETY, Inc., a not-for-profit dedicated to substance abuse prevention for teens and youth. And she is the chief operating officer of The PILLARS, a recovery center in the heart of Harlem.

Manhattan's First Addiction Recovery Center Opens In Harlem

The new Pillars Recovery Center on 289 St. Nicholas Ave. near West 125th Street will help people maintain sobriety after drug addiction treatment through services such as support and educational groups and 12-step programs, officials said Tuesday.

"One you're through with treatment you need that support in the community," New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said Tuesday. "Only places like this will support people in sobriety for a long time."

Governor Cuomo Announces Grand Opening

"Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the grand opening of the new $1.75 million Pillars Recovery Center in New York City. The center will increase access to free services for people in recovery from a substance use disorder and provide support to their families. With the opening of this center in Harlem, OASAS now has a recovery center in every borough of New York City."

I'm Seeking Job Elimination in 2017...

During my own addiction, I traveled down a dark, tumultuous and extreme winding road of despair. My designer-draped external shell was a mere smokescreen for my brittle-boned skeletal frame, which protected the directionless compass of my mind and ill-fated spirit. Despite all appearances, I was hopeless and rooted in fear and self-pity, my life was unmanageable, I was the queen of emotional manipulation, I abused others around me, I took numerous hostages, and I could care less of the wreckage which I left in my wake. After drugs and alcohol ceased to ease the pain, and to quiet the noises, suicide seemed the only way out. But, after several attempts to end my life, it became obvious that death was not the plan for me...but, why did I live?

That question crosses my mind everytime I lose someone to addiction. The answer is fraught with survivor's guilt; but, it is also grounded in gratitude. I lived so that I can tell my story of addiction, depression AND recovery. I lived so that the ultimate sacrifice, my life, did not have to be my way of giving back. I lived so that my journey in addiction would inform a new way of living. I lived so that I could, through a career in social work, substance abuse prevention and addiction recovery, help others to know the joys of a drug-free life too. I lived so that I could make amends for the pain I caused others. I lived so that I could change the way some view addiction. But, most importantly, I lived so that I could truly LIVE...in peace, in harmony with others, and in happiness.

Everyday, I work toward the eradication of substance abuse. Everyday, I actively participate in the vision and creation of a drug-free world. Everyday, I aim to teach others how I did it....so that they can do it too. Everyday, I seek for my work to be focused in RECOVERY!

So, here's to being gainfully unemployed...as an addictions specialist in 2017!