"Grandparents Raising Grandchildren" with State Rep. Eddie "Day" Pashinski

February 25, 2022 Joe Van Wie / State Rep. Eddie "Day" Pashinski Season 1 Episode 17
"Grandparents Raising Grandchildren" with State Rep. Eddie "Day" Pashinski
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-121, Luzerne) has established himself as a passionate and consensus-building voice in the General Assembly, working for the things our neighbors need, like property tax relief, jobs that pay a living wage, appropriate funding for public education, reducing the cost of higher education, access to affordable quality healthcare and more.

In 2006, he was first elected to represent the 121st Legislative District which consists of Wilkes-Barre City, Fairview Township, Wilkes-Barre Township, Ashley Borough, Hanover Township and Laurel Run Borough.

Pashinski serves as the Democratic chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, a position he has held since 2017. He also currently serves as board member of the Center for Rural PA and the PA Hardwoods Development Council, as well as Chair of both the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Legislative Sportsmen’s caucuses. Pashinski also has previously served on the Insurance, State Government, Human Services, Aging, Gaming and Commerce committees.

Pashinski is a graduate of Wilkes University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and has a master's equivalency. He uses his 38 years of experience as a former music teacher and choral director at the Greater Nanticoke Area School District to push back against irresponsible and drastic state education funding cuts that adversely affect local property taxpayers and threaten the quality of a public education.

A tireless fighter for healthcare reform, Pashinski led a task force of regional experts that developed recommendations to improve the healthcare system. He has introduced numerous bills to increase access to medical care, reduce costs to consumers and improve outcomes.

Pashinski has organized a package of legislation that has helped provide resources for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, as well as helped to pass the historic 2019 PA Farm Bill, which included his language supporting Pa Preferred’s Homegrown by Heroes program, promoting Pennsylvania veterans who become farmers and producers.

Following the devastating floods of 2011, Pashinski spearheaded a legislative package to help homeowners and small businesses recover and protect local jobs. He has been named "Legislator of the Year" by several organizations representing the best interests of Luzerne County residents and the people of Pennsylvania.

Prior to joining the General Assembly, Pashinski held several union positions with the Greater Nanticoke Area Education Association, serving as chief spokesperson, vice president and eventually president. In addition to the local offices, he also served as PACE Director and Region Chairman for PSEA on the state level.

A staunch supporter of community involvement, he has held leadership roles with the Luzerne County Coordinating Council, Luzerne County Legislative Committee, United Way of Wyoming Valley and serves as the executive director of the Advocacy Fu

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Joe Van Wie  0:09  
Hello and thanks for listening to another episode of all better. I am your host, Joe van wie G. Today's guest is state representative, Eddie de Schinsky, of the 121st District of Pennsylvania. And he has established himself as a passionate and consensus building voice in the General Assembly, working for the things our neighbors need, like property tax relief, jobs that pay a living wage, appropriate funding or public education, reducing the cost of higher education, access to affordable quality health care, and more. In 2006, he was first elected to represent the 100 and 21st Legislative District, which consists of Wilkes Barre city, Fairview Township, Wilkes Barre Township, Ashley borough in Hanover Township, and Laurel Ron Schinsky, serves as a Democratic Chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, a position he has held since 2017. He is currently serving as a board member of the Center for rural pa in the PA hardwoods Development Council, as well as chair of both the grandparents raising grandchildren and legislative sportsman focuses Schinsky also has previously served on the insurance, state government, Human Services, aging, gaming and commerce committees. And he is a graduate of Wilkes University with a Bachelor of Science degree in music education, and has a master's he uses his 38 years of experience as a former music teacher and choir director at the Greater Nanticoke Area School District to push back against irresponsible and drastic state education funding cuts that adversely affect local property taxes, and threaten the quality of public education. A tireless fighter for health care reform Schinsky led a task force regional experts have developed recommendations to improve the healthcare system is introduced numerous bills to increase access to medical care, reduce costs to consumers and improve outcomes. The Schinsky has organized a package of legislation that has helped provide resources for grandparents raising grandchildren. That's what we're here to talk about today. As well as helped to pass the historic 2019 pa Farm Bill, which included his language supporting pa preferred, Homegrown by Heroes program, promoting Pennsylvania veterans who became farmers and producers. Following the devastating floods of 2011 Schinsky spearheaded a legislative package to help homeowners and small businesses recover and protect local jobs. He's been named legislator of the Year by several organizations, representing the best interests of Luzerne County, and people of Pennsylvania prior to joining the General Assembly, and he held several union positions with the greater Nanticoke area Education Association, serving as chief spokesman, Vice President and eventually President, in addition to local offices, is also served as case director and region chairman for PS E. Va. On the state level. A staunch supporter of community involvement is held leadership roles with the Luzerne County Coordinating Council, is there in County legislative committee, United Way of Wyoming Valley and serves as the executive director of the Advocacy Fund for grandparents raising grandchildren. A popular local musician, entertainment manager and promoter. Eddie is widowed and has four children and seven grandchildren. Let's meet Eddie. Thanks again. We're here with State Representative Eddie de Schinsky. To give a little context to our relationship before we get started, I worked for Eddie on his second campaign.

I have friends that did his first campaign and we were partners at that time. And it was a lovely, honorable campaign. It was the first campaign I felt noble flake All right is a good, you got a good guy. But kidding aside, we maintain a relationship that was around 2009 10. And I've been friends with Eddie for the next 12 years, through thick and thin. And the last time I was part of a race when I was still doing politics, I was hiding some drinking. And Eddie, you are actually one of my first demands that I called of a client, because I felt like I let you down to some degree. And I'm reachable and the grace and kindness she showed me, and understanding and recovery. I definitely wanted to express before we get into it today, I wanted to thank you for that. And coming on here today. So thanks for coming.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  5:47  
Well, listen, it's my pleasure to be here with you. And I want to congratulate you, not only myself, but all those that were supporting me throughout that campaign, you know, recognize the gift that you had, and you were very innovative and very intellectual, very creative. And you helped me get through that campaign. And, you know, life, life is wonderful. But every day, there's a challenge, and life is tough. And I'm never one to point the finger or anything like that. And especially in this job that I have a state rep It is truly an honor to serve. And, you know, I, I'm humbled by the vote that I received from my constituents. And that's a contract between me and them, they trust me to try to work out things for their benefit and support them and represent them. So you played a major role in continuing, you know, so many years, this is my 16th year, I can't believe it is and wow, it's, it's, it's gone, like, you know, in seconds. So first of all, thank you very much. And I'm so proud of you. And I'm so happy that you're doing this because again, you're sharing your intellect, you're sharing your creativity. And I'm very proud of you. Up here.

Joe Van Wie  7:10  
Thank you. I'll have you on every week. You see that creativity folks?

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  7:19  
Committed to? Well,

Joe Van Wie  7:21  
I a lot of people. You know, this is a recovery show. But there's great value in understanding the distinction between what we always see as federal politics just dominate our media cycle. And then state what what gets done in the state level towards recovery and treatment. And the word that is just just buzzing in our ears for the last almost a decade, the opioid crisis. And the sexy headlines are the Sacklers kind of being sued and now being held put to task and held and we'll see how that totally finishes out but it looks like a sense of justice. Litigation referred to is the litigation of Purdue pharma and the Sackler family. This litigation accused the company and family members of aggressively marketing oxycontin or downplaying its addiction and overdose risks. The company, family members have denied the allegations. A federal judge overturned a roughly $4.5 billion settlement at legally shielded the members of the Sackler family who stand accused of helping fuel the US opioid epidemic. That was in December of 2021. US District Judge Colleen McMahon said in a written opinion, in December, The New York bankruptcy court that approved the settlement did not have the authority to grant the Sacklers the legal protection from future opioid litigation. As an update as of February 2022, members of the Sackler family who own Purdue pharma, maker of OxyContin are willing to kick in more money up to $6 billion in total to settle 1000s of lawsuits over the toll of opioids. And the company tries to work out a deal with state attorneys generals who torpedoed an earlier settlement. The offer was detailed in a report filed on Friday of last week and US bankruptcy court by a federal mediator, who asked the court to let her have it until the end of the month to broker a new settlement. Under the latest proposal, the Sacklers would contribute between 5.5 and $6 billion, an increase from the 4.3 billion they had agreed to in the original bankruptcy settlement. Last of the money would not be paid out for 18 years. The exact amount would depend on how much the family would make from selling its international drug companies. The additional money would have to be used to combat the crisis that has been linked to more than a half a million deaths in the US over the past two decades. Part of it would be to be controlled by eight states joined by the District of Columbia that objected to the original settlement last year, when other states agreed, we'll be following this more in other episodes. It doesn't look like blaming addicts, the old stigmas just don't survive, because it touches all of us rich, or it doesn't matter if this this is a cultural crisis. And how a lot of us are responding to reality is finding an addiction, which, you know, that can be unpacked in its own way. But you came on to something that I really wanted to take the show to kind of talk about and bring attention to. It's grandparents raising grandkids. And it's a complex idea. It's It sounds simple at first, but it needed a lot of complex things to happen. And you were the guy to shepherd this. So I want to be able to talk about that and how much work that took that someone is you saw a place to help a very specific place. And what it took to get that help actualize it took passing laws, influence lobbying, bipartisan relationships, to be working together. And I think that's that is democracy slow, bad or in be indifferent? Here's a response that is now effectively running. That's right. So what would you how would you first broadly describe it? And then let's just go back and start. How did this how did this all began? What is grandparents, raising grandkids?

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  11:46  
Well, I'll tell you what that is. And then I'll tell you how it came about grandparents raising grandchildren. To my surprise, it's like 90,000, grandparents are raising, you know, 80, some 1000 grandkids or 100,000. grandkids? I haven't checked the statistics. Yeah. And I thought those numbers were outrageous. And I don't think I was any different than the vast majority of people out there who really did not understand addiction. And I think you'll agree that from 2016 17. Till today, a lot of things have changed relative to treatment, relative just to the image, etc. Most people looked at someone that was addicted, and they felt that they were a loser. And then the realization came out that many of these addicted folks became that way from prescription drugs, from Oxycontin, something like 70% of those that were addicted because of the Oxycontin, which was prescribed so that trust in a doctor, that trust in your medical field was taken advantage of and as you pointed out later, finally, there's some lawsuits that are bringing these points out.

Joe Van Wie  13:02  
Yeah, it was malice. There's intentional exploitation Exactly.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  13:07  
And as I was trying to understand the complexity of this, I met with county people met with state officials met with, you know, several folks on the federal level, and we began to have policy hearings.

Joe Van Wie  13:23  
Policy hearings, also known as public inquiries. Public hearings are typically organized as a way to gather public opinions, and concerns and political issues before legislature, agency or organization makes a decision or takes action. A public hearing is defined as an open gathering of officials and citizens in which citizens are permitted to offer comments, but officials are not obliged to act on them typically even respond publicly. Also known as public inquiries, public hearings are typically organized as a way to gather public opinions and concerns on a political issue before a legislator, and organization makes a decision or takes an action. Public hearings can be called on more or less open topics, or else are held on pre drafted legislation, agendas or action items.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  14:21  
And at the policy hearing, I was fortunate, I found out about some grandparents from Luzerne County, who were grandparents raising grandchildren because their own son or daughter was either addicted, died from or was in jail because of the addiction. And now those children needed love and attention. And when those three grandparents testified again, little choked up myself. Sorry, there wasn't a dry eye because people couldn't realize the pain and suffering they were going through knowing that they may have lost their own daughter or son. And now they have these grandkids, that they now want to make sure that they love protect and take care of them. But the way the law was written, it was only local parenthesis, which meant that the parents had the authority, grandparents had no authority.

Joe Van Wie  15:20  
The term local apprentice, which means in place of a parent, or instead of a parent refers to situations in which someone other than a biological parent takes the role of a parent to a minor child without formally adopting the child.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  15:40  
So that began this tract of getting some of my colleagues on board reaching across the aisle to get some of my other colleagues on board, to try to make them understand how important it was to at least change the law to allow for what was called temporary guardianship. Yeah. And that's what my bill House Bill 1539 did. You would go before the judge, you'd make your case, you'd have your legal advisors. And if the case was made, the judge agreed you could get temporary guardianship, which meant that you had the authority to take that child to school to take that child to the doctor, to be able to take care of them, just

Joe Van Wie  16:21  
just basic. caretaking of a grandkid can become that complex. Parents in jail can have fatal overdose. That's correct. And they didn't have any rights to take their own grandchildren.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  16:35  
That is correct. And that started 1539. I then reached out to the Chairwoman, the Republican chairwoman of the children's caucus, a children's committee. And she and I talked for a long time, she's a wonderful lady. That is Chairwoman Katherine Watson. She then took some of the the bills that we were working on and she created her 2133. Now what did that bill do? It now created what was called kinship navigator, there's a lot of grandparents have no idea where to go, they have no idea what to do, they have no idea what help is out there, if there's any help. So we now have what's called kinship navigator, they can make a phone call to this contact, it's a state contact, and then they will help guide those grandparents, to the various agencies or associations that will help them in one way shape form or another,

Joe Van Wie  17:35  
like a liaison to walk them through. Because this is like a trauma in the sense you work your entire life. You couldn't make probably, I would venture, I'm just spitballing a majority of those 90,000 people could be on fixed income, oh, absolutely of planning out how to live the rest of your life on a fixed income. Now have a child, maybe two children are now in that household, adding to all the fixed costs. Wow, that that's a crisis.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  18:08  
It is a crisis. It's a mental crisis, along with a physical crisis along with the financial crisis and human contract, you know, crisis. So just just to give you a little heads up. So the I, you know, out of those two bills, that's what we got. And then I did House resolution 390, which asked for a commission to be started to analyze the whole system and then make recommendations. Yeah. So some of the recommendations now are that we maybe can take some foster care money, or help those grandparents create a commission that will continue to help guide them through this process. And also, you know, deal with the mental crisis that they suffer from, let alone the finances, you know, so there's plenty of work that has to be done. But this was the start. So

Joe Van Wie  19:00  
the start is the kinship. And this is the first point of contact to walk yourself through this unexpected thing that the storm that arise, but it's it's, you want your grandkids? Yes. So there's a different bunch of different elements. You need someone to advocate for their legal rights and how to walk them through this, this guardianship. That was your first task to pass these laws. There's a financial component of the stress that you create, and there's an emotional kinship seems to what I'm looking at address the illegal liaison and start to helping them find this. That's correct. And emotional support. What does the emotional support look like? How does that?

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  19:39  
Well, they'll connect them with various wherever that person might be living. They'll try to connect them with whether whether it's a County Association, or whether it's a private Association, like we have in Luzerne County, in order to help get them some guidance, also children and youth, various other good and county and state organizations departments that can try to guide them, you know, through their, their challenges.

Joe Van Wie  20:07  
And it's amazing. You know, it's so easy to just despise government until it's missing. And the support and the real impact of county government I at least that I see in Lackawanna County and Lucerne and state, its people don't see the reach of who it's supporting and helping. It's us. It's our all our neighbors, but that real help can be come in the form of county and state, I say that,

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  20:38  
listen, the bottom line and in treatment you do. Yeah, and I hope people don't despise government. Because Because your listeners are the government. That's right, your listeners and your vote, determine who represents you. And you, as an American citizen, have every right to appropriately approach your legislators whether they're county, city, state, federal, and share your thoughts. And then it's up to you to garner more people that think like you to move something forward. That's what I had to do on the state level within the House of Representatives in order to get this passed. And we of course, had to work with our senators to try to get them passed. The governor had no problem. When did that start? How long ago was that? That was 2017 or 18? Yeah.

Joe Van Wie  21:31  
And what did the lobbying like? Were you surprised by the acceptance immediate acceptance from people who weren't at the learning curve yet of what this was?

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  21:43  
Again, that's why we have these policy here. Yeah. Because as a representative, we get hit by every aspect of life. And there's no way we can be an authority on everything. Yeah. So when I first was elected, you might recall health care was one of my main issue. Absolutely. I kept saying it is not affordable. And because it's not affordable, it's not accessible. So quality doesn't matter if you can't get it. And that's how I became involved in this because it is, you know, a cost and it's about healthcare, and so on. So not quite sure where we're going here. But I wanted

Joe Van Wie  22:21  
to maybe just unpack for someone who's never seen that process. Like, you know, things have been hyperbolic for last couple of years. Federally, state, it's everywhere. But I think there's hope, insight, and it's not hope that our side, your side wins. It's hope that people you know, once you know each other, you're not a Democrat or Republican, you know, the guy, you're, you're a person. And a lot of that happens on the House floor. You've been there 16 years. So, you know, Republican or Democrat didn't matter. addiction affects everyone and grandparents raising grandkids. I know what that looks like, because it's probably somewhere close to you see, you people are visibly seeing this. You didn't meet much resistance. It seemed like a plan everyone could get involved in how did that work?

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  23:14  
Yeah. First of all, I have to tell you that things have changed dramatically. What was bipartisan is no longer it is truly a struggle to try to get some things passed. Yeah. But that's why I want to emphasize the people, your power, your voice, your threat of not voting for you, buddy, the next time you're around is what forces many of those legislators back to the table. Yeah. But it always starts with an idea whether it comes from the public, or it comes from a legislator. And what started this was that policy hearing, when those three major grandparents told their stories. That was the impetus that began to bring Democrats and Republicans together. Yeah. And again, my relationship with Katherine Watson, my Republican counterpart, that helped because then she then lobbied her side, I lobbied my side. And then we got enough people that said, Yeah, we're going to, we're going to support that, then we had to do the same thing with the Senate. You know, I had to go to my guys on my side, she had to go to her side. And, you know, we again, like I said, we also talked to the governor's people, you know, thank God, the governor was very supportive of that concept. And that was no problem. The hardest part was to get it rolling, to try to make people understand what was the information? What was the outcome? Why is this good? Why is it benefiting? You know, the people of Pennsylvania, and that's the work that's needed, you know, in order to get these things passed?

Joe Van Wie  24:45  
Yeah, I'm a sucker because I've always appreciated it, and I got to learn a lot of watching the way you would legislate. You went there. Now for a position you immediately started legislating, and it gave me a new perspective of what does The working state rep look like is you you walked in your freshman year you got a bill. But to see you pay attention to this and such a caveat, it's it's not I'm not saying it's savvy, you see, pragmatically I can help here. This will work, you can't always help, you know, issues that could detract you. But you're seeing this actualized. It's up and running now. And support emotional and legal. I just wanted to talk about it a for people who need this support, or we can refer the support and to bring a spotlight on it. The opioid crisis is a multifaceted crisis, very complex, and it has casualties, from grandparents, to children, hemorrhaging cost everywhere, from healthcare to county budgets, state and federal. Here's a bill that got to a law that got passed, that just picked off its momentum. I see it as momentum.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  26:01  
Well, that helped spur the Advocacy Fund for grandparents raising grandchildren. And what's that? So those three grandparents, and I then developed a tremendous mutual respect rapport with each other. We truly love each other, respect each other. And, you know, I said, Okay, we got this thing passed. But there's still a lot of grandparents that don't have the money, we found out for the legal cost of going to court, hiring a lawyer to get that special custody, or that adoption, or that temporary guardianship. So I said, Let's see whether we can try to put together an organization, we'll go to the loser and foundation and ask them if they can help us organize this nonprofit, and see whether we can raise money to be able to get this system in place. And so I donated money, couple of the other members donated money, we had some friends donate some money, we had about four or $5,000. That's all we had at the time. We went to the loser and foundation told them what we were doing. And by the way, the loser and foundation Charles Barbara was the exact fantastic there, his organization. Fantastic. Now it's David February, who I knew was going to do a great job. Yeah. And they helped guide us. And they, they told us, we encourage you to apply for a special grant that we do every year. So they have I in fact, I'm sorry, I can't even think of how many they have. They started out with just like maybe 1520 organizations. Now they have 50 6070. You know, what started out as a few million now they're up to like $50 million of the value with all these foundations great, great purposes and causes. And they said, you know, apply for this, you have a chance to win $5,000. Yeah. We said, great. So we had to make a video, and I had those three grandparents tell her story. That was it. We did not win the $5,000. Cheese. We won the grand prize of $25,000. And that's what gave us the foundation. Since then we've helped pretty close to 1011 Different grandparents with legal fluid legal fees, we pay about 2500 up to $3,000 to get guardianship. Yes. So it was just an uplifting feeling.

Joe Van Wie  28:35  
That's a life changing amount of money on a fixed income. Yeah, in just possibly losing a child yourself. Whatever that looks like. It's just tragedy.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  28:46  
Now that's an important point you want to emphasize so that grandparent, they're there because they lost their daughter or their son. And that's why they have their children. So it's a double, you know, catastrophe

Joe Van Wie  28:59  
now and the support groups. Are you seeing them utilized in Luzerne County are people meeting?

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  29:08  
Oh, yeah. Oh, now by the way, we have a Joan Gower and Frank Marriott, Mariana are president. They hold a support group. Every month. We hold it at the Wilkesboro YMCA. We have the phone numbers that you're going to share with everyone. Absolutely. And anybody that's in that position that just wants to share some thoughts, share some ideas, get some ideas, get some help. You just give Joan a call and you meet it's private, or it's a group setting. However you want to do it, and we'll take it from there.

Joe Van Wie  29:48  
I'm gonna share that information. All of it. I really wanted to talk about this because you've always been an open minded guy. And and you've all He's been a music music you've been on the music scene prior to being a state rap and a year for teachers. So you saw it, you saw the 60s, you saw counter culture, you saw 80s Then you become a legislator. How How much has changed in your view of addiction, just your personal life? How did that change your narrative of what you thought addiction was?

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  30:27  
Well, the only addiction that I ever saw was with alcohol. You know, some members of the family, you know, back then alcohol was part of, you know, just about cults every kind of weekend or whatever. And there was a bar on every corner. Yeah. So in a funeral home, yes, no, no, you're correct, because of the miners and so on. But what I saw in the beginning, was just beer. When we performed, we were doing high schools, we were doing Hanson's Park, sandy beach, Sansui, St. John's, all of that. And as a result, we never really saw any kind of opioids at all now, when it was in the 70s, is when I started to see that now, I never realized that, you know, with Vietnam and everything, yeah, that's where, you know, marijuana started to be a natural thing. I had a rule with my band. And keep in mind that I was married, I had children. I was a teacher, a choral director, part of the union and so on. So my rule was whatever you do in your private life, that's up to you. Yeah. But when we were on the job together, when we were in the van together to work, that's it. Yep. And out of

Joe Van Wie  31:45  
bands operate it that way. Even party bands that had the image of Pardons when they were working, they were working.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  31:50  
Yeah, if you wanted to be successful, yeah, to know what the heck you were doing. And if you were into the other stuff you didn't. And then when you got into the 70s, it became more and more prevalent. And then we started to perform in clubs outside of the area, we started to do a college circuit. That's where I started to see more booze started to see more marijuana in the clubs is where all of a sudden he began to see the line of coke. Again, you know, and it was weird to me, you know, really go to

Joe Van Wie  32:24  
City, Miami, yes. Rebuilt Miami. Yes.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  32:27  
And I couldn't believe it believe it was happening. So I would not be like the best person because I was never in that cloud. So I never saw it, you

Joe Van Wie  32:38  
get to see it. And it was becoming almost pop culture and addiction looks. I don't know. Even me, I was in 11 treatment centers. And I still thought I had a will between the age of 16. And now 40. I still thought I had the will to change addiction. And it's a subtle thing. Well, well, how could a person not to how do they get better if they don't do that? It's a really subtle disorder, the idea of how you're responding to impulse or low self esteem. I just see the rise growing. It's hard not to associate it with culture. Of the need be met by the opioid. It's not just a drug takes you over. You had a need that the drug was filling. And that's usually filling a void or a response to trauma. Just see it in the 70s and 50s. People say oh, it was always that way. No, I don't think so. Not at this scale at 100,000 People did not die 10 years ago.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  33:46  
I agree with you. 1%. I agree totally. And the thing that's horrifying now is that a kid would buy pills from some guy on the street. You know, when you looked at the alcohol, you knew that you could drink the alcohol. But you're not going to die from it. No. Now you have no idea. As a matter of fact, the fent fentanyl strains, which I totally support, and I want to try to get past Yeah, that will identify whether the fentanyl is in it because the fentanyl right now is is perfect.

Joe Van Wie  34:18  
Oh it's everywhere.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  34:19  
You know and and we're struggling. You know now we have medical marijuana. Are we going to legalize marijuana? How do you control it? You know, can people grow it at home? No. You shouldn't some people want us and nothing's wrong with that. Well, you can't make your booze at home even though you know the people

Joe Van Wie  34:41  
don't say that and Pittston? There is a season Adele there.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  34:47  
Yeah, but there has to be some kind of control. Yeah, for the safety of all Yeah, you know, and and we didn't say this before, but I have always felt that there's more good In this world and not Yeah, there's more good in the United States.

Joe Van Wie  35:03  
Now, that's how you carry yourself to, you don't have to tell people it's apparent if someone gets to know you. You You have hope you're fighting for a future that is filled with justice and honesty and fair treatment.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  35:18  
And you know, we only have one life to live. Let's try to enjoy it. Let's, you know, have the friendship, let's have the families. And yes, every day book every day, you know, I tell everybody life is like the weather one day, it's glorious the next day, it's her Yeah. Okay. But we still only have one life, let's do the best we can. Let's do as much good as we can. And the other thing I would tell your audience, please, please, please, search for the truth. Search for the facts. And let that guide your decisions. Not some guy on Facebook, or some guy that you heard, you know, in this podcast, like, Joe, crazy. No, but I cannot emphasize that no more search for the truth,

Joe Van Wie  36:06  
my friends that and life light of the aftermath of the pandemic that we've, you know, still experiences some degree and all these upheaval. I found my place in the world where I can make the I can make sense of my purpose and how to help people. And, you know, it looked a little bit of departing from me from politics, I was losing my kind of ability to handle stress almost too. And when I think encouragement you gave me when I started a new position up at avenues. And I just knew I was making the right move. Because this gave purpose to my life again, I really realized even when I didn't have anything wrong, I still didn't feel good. And I know what that is. That's addiction. That that started before I used in when you heard me talk about it. Like when we were up at like Arial on the ribbon cutting I was I knew you got it. And I was like you always got it with seen identifying people in pain. And how can I use my power to relieve this this justly?

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  37:16  
Yep, exactly. That's why I said, I believe there's more good. A follow the truth in the facts. There are people that can come together and help everyone. And that's one of the best things about this job. Anytime I can do something good makes me feel good. Oh my god, you know, when I can help somebody or in this case, you know, we got this bill passed. Okay, that's, we may accomplish but but now we still have more work to do. So let's keep going. You know, but listen, I'm so proud of you. And again, what you're doing is very important, because I believe you're the guy that's going to emulate the truth. You're gonna look for the truth, you're gonna share that with your listeners, your listeners who then have to make their choice. Sure. Sure.

Joe Van Wie  37:59  
I definitely want to have another discussion sometime to about treatment, because some colleagues of yours, Senator John Kane had a committee two weeks ago. There's a lot of great progressive things our state's doing with deedat understanding where real problems are in the treatment side, and encouraging payment for a full year of people living in a safe place. Not Yes. Just awful, undignified Well, deemed recovery houses. Yeah, they had a great committee to identify them, created a new regulation for recovery house seems to be a designated recovery house, seeing the need Medicaid people need to, to live safely for a year. And, you know, that was really heartwarming that I saw so many people making sense, but what they were saying, Wow,

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  38:54  
well, let me let me share this with you. Sure. As I told you, just I might be the example. I didn't understand it. And then I began to research talk to people. And then we we began to say, well, it's not really their fault. Don't know they're not losers. It's because of what's transpired with oxycodone. Or it's because what transpired in their lives, or it's their body makeup, and then all of a sudden came up what naloxone. Thank God we have, we have a drug that will prevent their death. Yeah, fantastic. And then it was, yeah, but we gave the Naloxone, he got better or they got better. They went out in a week, they got busted up again. And then they died. So what I'm trying to say now is now you're now you know, fun. Yeah. And several other different kinds of treatments. You didn't have treatments before. It was That's why I said education is key. Because at first it was what do you do? Well, you get the emergency out. You tried to save their life, then you had a lot Sonia saved their life. Now. The governor put together the The Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Corrections, Department of Education, you're talking about bringing a whole bunch of people from different aspects. So begin to learn. Now, how do we understand it? How do we then treat it and make sure the goal is get the treatment, so they actually recover and stay recovered? And that is a big difference than what it was seven years ago? Yes, it is. Okay. It's

Joe Van Wie  40:32  
more articulate, it's more intelligent. It's based on long term results. It's also not discriminating to people that abstinence might not be the immediate goal. And they might need what I call life saving drugs. A lot of my friends don't want to use Suboxone, because it could have got them through a bridge period. A lot of people that same hearken Nioxin you can't get dead people sober. There you go. What kind of insanity are we talking about here? We're human beings. And they're sick.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  41:07  
Exactly. I was trying to think about, you know, the name of the group, because they have several of the surnames. But the governor, by the way, also, for this budget, put almost $100 million into like three, four different areas. Again, trying to work on the treatment, recovery and remain, you know, safe. I will share that with you. Yeah, I'll get the information for you.

Joe Van Wie  41:36  
I want to have a couple more in March to I was gonna are late spring. Talk to you again, about some stuff that's coming up for recovery houses in Pennsylvania. I really got up to speed in the last year understanding what I didn't realize how the pampered and or maybe now grateful I am to grow, grow grow up in Lackawanna County in Pennsylvania, the way alcoholism was viewed in the 90s. Here. I don't think maybe I would have had a different story or a tragedy, if I wasn't around people that understood what they were talking about, even in the 90s. It would and they did it with compassion, non judgment, non power. You just gave the you were getting help you Okay, as a lot of us understand what addiction is,

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  42:25  
you know what I know what else they're doing. They're taking people like yourself, Joe, who have recovered, you understand it from A to Z and beyond. And now they're utilizing you to help some of those patients into recovery. And that sustainability to stay straight.

Joe Van Wie  42:45  
You're absolutely right. That's the CRS program. Yes, states. It's a certified recovery specialist. I'm taking the courses, sprig. It's funny salad standing over at the recovery bank, they're teaching it and that's a march. But this is offered all over the state you can find. You can even get grants to take the course what the requirement is, and I've put this in a show before but I can't talk about it enough. Okay. It's, it's, it's about nine weeks, of course, one day a week. And that's 66 hours of training, 12 hours of homework, then you take a state certification, what that certification allows you to do is come from the perspective, you are an expert, you recovered. And but here's a standard and ethics that we fall as recovery specialist. Here's the limit of our training. We're not psychiatrists, were peer to peer we're gonna we can help and maybe make a connection in a hospital, or at a probation office, or at some other service where another person couldn't, because we're, we could speak that language. without judgment,

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  43:51  
I guarantee it. You will save many lives, and you will lose some Yeah. Yeah. And that's just the reality. But no one can challenge your knowledge of what you went through. And then also, no one can challenge the goodness and the kindness that you're now emulating to that addicted person that you're trying to help them with, which is huge. You care, when they realize that someone cares, that gives them hope and strength.

Joe Van Wie  44:21  
Yeah, I guess not to get too lofty, but the spiritual, like, you know, you knew me I was a secular kind of atheists. But the spiritual truth in that I'm finding overlap. Because who you're talking to, you're talking to you. There, that's me. Like, I want to be treated the way that the same exact way I would want to treat someone in that position. I know what it feels to feel humiliated, especially related to my addiction. And it would keep me trapped in my house or not asking for help. That goes away. If you'd let one person in it was always someone that has had addiction that I learned. And I was like, man, I've really missed the mark here. He does know what I'm talking about. Okay. Yeah.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  45:08  
That's, you're making the point.

Joe Van Wie  45:10  
Yeah. Well, Eddie, I want to thank you. I'm gonna put all of the links to this for the YMCA meeting. Yep. And the fund and maybe a little information to about Luzerne foundation with the Padre because that is a really interesting entity that can help a lot of people that might be interested if they had ideas or want to support any of those organizations. And it's also an place you can make a pitch you have a good idea about treatment or recovery. This is where it would begin taking the courage to bring your idea to someone else.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  45:47  
No, I appreciate that. And, you know, Lackawanna County could develop their own Advocacy Fund for grandparents raising grandchildren, you know, they'd have to get their people together, raise some money and then do exactly what we're doing. We don't have enough money to go outside of Luzerne County.

Joe Van Wie  46:01  
Well, you guys what I was thinking, we'll do it an old fashioned Lackawanna County says we'll sue your entity but I think that's it and we see that a lot with Scranton Wilkes Barre, someone works for you guys. It worked for us. Yeah. And if it works for us, you got like we're sister cities. There's

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  46:21  
people in Lucerne and Lackawanna County. When I first got elected, I heard about this controversy or this, you know, this contest between I said, Listen, man, Scranton, you're North Philly. Wilkes Barre, we're Southfield. Yeah,

Joe Van Wie  46:35  
we are. We're one mega city. Yeah. So well, Eddie, thanks for coming on. And I look forward to talking to you soon.

State Rep. Eddie Pashinski  46:43  
Thank you very much. And thank you for all your good work good luck.

Joe Van Wie  46:49  
Pennsylvania kin connector helps kinship care families in numerous ways, including connecting caregivers to health, financial and legal services, connecting caregivers to training and parenting support. Identifying local, physical or behavioral health services, identify and support groups, guiding caregivers on how to apply for federal, state, and local benefits such as CIF and Social Security, providing access to compassionate kin connector who will listen and provide supportive guidance. You can find them on kin And that's k i n, c o n n e c. T o Or feel free to call them at 1866 Cin 2111. Again, that's 1-866-546-2111. And for those grandparents, you're not alone. Come find the support you've been looking for. Supporting grandparents raising grandchildren, called New American heroes. It's a support group for grandparents raising grandchildren, the group that gathers to listen, educate, share frustrations, and good news and support one another while raising grandchildren. They meet every second Monday of each month from 6pm to 730. That's at the Wilkes Barre YMCA on 40 West Northampton street Wilkes Barre PA. For more information, please call Joan Gowen at 570-401-9815. I'd like to thank you for listening to another episode of all better to find us on all or listen to us on Apple podcasts. Spotify, Google podcasts Stitcher, I Heart Radio, and Alexa. Special thanks to our producer John Edwards, an engineering company 570. Drone. Please like or subscribe to us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. And if you're not on social media, you're awesome. Looking forward to seeing you again. And remember, just because you're sober doesn't mean you're right

Transcribed by

Old Friend
Sackler Lawsuit
Treatment Funding
Fulfilling Work
The road
Keep Fighting