NEW YORK, NY (07/20/2021) (readMedia)-- Phoenix House of NY|LI announces the hiring of three new substance use disorder treatment experts, who will steer the organization as it navigates the devastating impacts left by the Coronavirus pandemic on people with substance use disorder.

Drug overdose deaths rose almost 30% in 2020, the highest increase in at least three decades. The increase is attributed to the destabilizing effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the rise of fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid that is frequently mixed into other drugs. Many people with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) lost access to in-person treatment and other support systems as a result of the pandemic. Now, as much of the treatment that shifted to virtual becomes in-person again, Phoenix House is prepared to support people with SUD as they begin recovery.

Linda Sacco, LCSW, Ph.D., MHA, BC-TMH, Phoenix House's new Chief Clinical Officer, arrives at Phoenix House after three years at Kaden Health as Head of Clinical Services. Sacco received her Ph.D. in social work from Fordham University. A mental health and substance use treatment provider for over 30 years, Linda is passionate about breaking down stigmas related to substance use and providing high quality treatment without any barriers to entry.

"I've devoted my life to breaking down the stigma that acts as a huge barrier to people who need treatment for substance use disorder. Now, after 33 years in mental health and substance use treatment, I'm thrilled to join Phoenix House at such a crucial time. The devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic left many people in need of treatment for substance use disorder. As we rebuild and prepare to face the challenges caused by the pandemic, I'm looking forward to working with our staff and clients to think creatively about how we can best treat our community," said Linda Sacco, Phoenix House's new Chief Clinical Officer.

Alexis Vien, M.D., is Phoenix House's new Medical Director. Most recently, she was an addiction medicine fellow at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center

"As a physician working in a hospital, I see patients every day who aren't receiving effective treatment for Substance Use Disorder. As I learned more about the effective treatments available for SUD, I grew passionate about providing this crucial type of treatment, which is too often lacking in medical settings," said Alexis Vien, Phoenix House's new Medical Director. "I'm excited to provide that crucial type of care with Phoenix House, an organization that prioritizes medical treatment in addition to the many social needs that people with SUD face."

Justin Shaw RN, NP, Phoenix House's new Associate Medical Director, rejoins Phoenix House after receiving training at New York University as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. He previously worked as Phoenix House's Associate Director of Nursing.

"I cultivated my passion for patient-centered substance use and mental health treatment from my mentor and Phoenix House's former medical director, Dr. Bass, who passed away last year at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Justin Shaw, Phoenix House's new Associate Medical Director. "As the opioid crisis rages on, I plan to incorporate the teachings from Dr. Douglas Bass and elevate the standard of care for this stigmatized population that unfortunately has fallen victim to racial and health disparities. The time has come for change and Phoenix House is that change."

"I am thrilled to be joined by Dr. Linda Sacco, Dr. Alexis Vien, and Justin Shaw at this crucial time for Phoenix House," said Ann Marie Foster, President and CEO of Phoenix House NY|LI. "Last year, we saw an almost 30% increase in overdose deaths. It's devastating. As substance use disorder is on the rise, talented treatment providers like these have their work cut out for them. I'm grateful to be fighting the opioid epidemic with them by my side."

About Phoenix House

Since 1967, Phoenix House New York has helped thousands of people overcome substance and alcohol use in order to lead healthy, productive, and rewarding lives. Phoenix House New York offers short-term and long-term residential, intensive outpatient, and general outpatient treatment. Phoenix House also offers treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders, medical, psychiatric, and dental services, and impaired driver programs. These services are designed to meet the individual needs of adults at various stages of recovery, including military personnel, and veterans. In addition, Phoenix House provides educational and supportive services to family members, friends, significant others, and the community.