Archives: December2013

Dr. Joseph Salande, long-time Chalmette chiropractor, appointed to position as program director for new non-profit St. Bernard Community Coalition dedicated to reducing drug use in the parish

Posted: December 2nd, 2013 | Filed under: Announcements, News Releases


Dr. Joseph Salande, long-time chiropractor in Chalmette who is now semi-retired and lives in the parish, said he sees a bright future for St. Bernard but believes one key is to help in finding solutions for residents who are battling drug addiction.

“I think St. Bernard is making a nice comeback’’ from the physical and emotional damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, said Salande, 55, a St. Bernard native who is a doctor of chiropractic. “I believe our school system is doing well, in some ways leading the state, and the parish is a safe place to live because of good law enforcement.’’

But Salande said that in a situation “not unique to St. Bernard,’’ dependence on drugs by some people, including the prescription variety and other types, is taking a toll and leads to negative effects like thefts and burglaries which keep any parish from becoming everything it can be.

Salande said he wants to help in the fight of the new non-profit group, the St. Bernard Community Coalition, which aims to reduce illicit drug use in the parish and find ways to get rehab treatment for people who need it.

“It is something I greatly believe there is a need for,’’ said Salande, who had a chiropractic office for 24 years in Chalmette prior to Katrina and now works as a fill in/on call doctor for other offices in the New Orleans area.

He said trying to do something about drug abuse was his motivation in applying for the part-time position as administrator for the new group. It’s board is made up of prominent parish residents including Sheriff James Pohlmann, Schools Superintendent Doris Voitier and School Board President Diana Dysart, as well as Justice of the Peace Barbara Manuel, Floyd Gue of the Meraux Foundation, Pastor Otto Martin, Coroner Dr. Bryan Bertucci and others.

Salande was recently named program director for the St. Bernard Community Coalition, by its board, which is chaired by pharmacist Dan Schneider. The job would be roughly 20 hours a week.

Schneider said of Salande: “I think he has special talents to help us with our goals with the Coalition’’ and has started the position the position and soon will travel to Washington, D.C. to take part in training involving such coalitions which receive federal funding, as St. Bernard’s will.

“Joe is a long-time St. Bernardian and has a strong desire to make a difference in helping to reduce our drug abuse /addiction problem,’’ Schneider said. “He has met and exceeded all requirements for our Program Director.

Salande said many people may not realize how extensive drug abuse can be. “I doubt there is anyone, who if they thought about it, hasn’t been touched by drug use at some time – someone who is a family member, or friend or children of a friend,’’ Salande said.

“Hurricane Katrina is old news to others outside this area but so many people around here were affected one way or the other by the disaster and some had problems after with drugs or alcohol,’’ he said. “Many people have self-medicated.’’

Salande added, “Something has to be done to address this in a community-wide and systematic way for both individuals involved and their families affected by drug and alcohol use.’’

Besides his training in chiropractic, Salande has 40 hours in a masters program at the University of New Orleans in mental health counseling including a drug addiction component, he said.

And as added experience, Salande and his wife, Laurie, have gone through a certification program to become foster parents and have been exposed to children whose families suffered from drug abuse.

“We need a multi-faceted approach to the problem (of drug abuse), rather than just after the fact’’ said Salande, something that includes informing the public to draw community-wide involvement. There also must be more education made available to young people before they get addicted and to current users, he said.

He said one of the first things to accomplish is showing people battling addictions and their loved ones how to tap into programs that have proven records in helping people get off drugs.

“I suspect most people are not aware of resources available until there is a crisis and they have to start looking for it,’’ Salande said. “But there are resources available and people need to learn how to access them.’’

“I think that will be a goal of the Coalition initially,’’ Salande said, and later would move on to long-range things which possibly could include establishing rehab treatment.