Greenpoint Gazette

As Pride Month Comes to an End, Outreach Announces LGBTQ Substance Abuse Services

BY Tanay Warerkar

A longtime Manhattan Avenue alcohol and drug abuse treatment center is expanding its services to the LGBTQ community with a newly launched program, announced this week.

Outreach, a non-profit organization founded in Queens in 1980, now offers a vast list of services for the LGBTQ community such as individual and group counseling, couples counseling, family counseling, HIV/AIDS and STI prevention and education, interpersonal violence and anger management, psychiatric evaluation and medical management, and on-site LGBTQ self-help groups. The organization offers services in English, Polish and Spanish.

“Outreach is deeply committed to making a difference in the lives of individuals and families affected by substance abuse,” said Kathleen Riddle, the president of the organization, in a message on the group’s website. “Since opening our doors, our services have been designed to meet the needs of traditionally underserved populations and communities.”

On Tuesday morning, the Greenpoint center held an open house to introduce community members to the new the LGBTQ focused services and facilities. More than a dozen representatives from local organizations were in attendance – a large number of the organization’s clients come in through referrals – and the open house allowed community groups to get better acquainted with Outreach’s services.

A networking session accompanied by breakfast was followed by a presentation on the LGBTQ community in North Brooklyn, and the specialized treatment that Outreach offers, which was then succeeded by a tour of the facility which is located over two floors at the Manhattan Avenue location.

The organization decided to offer the LGBTQ track based on research that revealed that members of the LGBTQ community were disproportionately affected by substance abuse as opposed to other minority groups due to the lack of services available and concerns such as the fear of coming out, according to the LGBTQ program coordinator at Outreach, Jill Mastrandrea.

“We are a needs-based organization and we constantly analyze how the community is changing,” said Mastrandrea. “We want to provide a safe space for everyone as the community continues to change, especially the LGBTQ community where individuals have to confront being asked to leave their homes and fear for their safety.”

To learn more about Outreach, and about LGBTQ services they offer visit http://www.opiny.org/outreach-treatment/lgbtq-svcs.

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