'Connections to Care' initiative designed to connect underserved populations to addiction services and critical supports
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the availability of $2.2 million through the state's Opioid Settlement Fund to help connect vulnerable New Yorkers to addiction services and other critical supports. Administered by the state Office of Addiction Services and Supports, the "Connections to Care" initiative will provide up to 11 grants for eligible providers to connect individuals in high-need and underserved populations to the services that will support long-term substance use disorder recovery and overall well-being.
"Part of our all-hands-on-deck approach to the addiction and overdose epidemic is to ensure all New Yorkers battling substance use disorder have access to the critical services that can support them on the path to recovery," Hochul said. "These grants will help bridge the gap between those in our most vulnerable and marginalized populations and the lifesaving services that can help them overcome addiction."
OASAS Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said, "We continue to focus on reaching high-need individuals, who may face increased barriers to accessing care for addiction. This funding will allow us to better connect them to comprehensive medical services to support their overall health and wellness, as well as link them to other services that are vital to recovery."
The initiative will provide up to 11 awards of $200,000 to support harm reduction, physical and behavioral health services, along with other supports, including connections to transportation, supportive housing programs, and legal services. Services through this initiative may be provided by peers, case managers or clinical staff, either through telehealth or in person.
Target populations for these services include pregnant or postpartum women; transitional youth or individuals between the age of 18 and 25; individuals 55 or older; and those diagnosed with or suspected of having a traumatic brain injury or a developmental disability. The services are also aimed at assisting individuals returning to the community from incarceration and those transitioning from stabilization and withdrawal services or inpatient rehabilitation services.
Funding will be awarded through a request for applications process. Eligibility details are outlined in the request for applications.
State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, "Connecting individuals with mental health and substance use issues to services is absolutely critical, especially for individuals in high-needs and underserved regions. This funding, and the connections to care they support, will help eliminate obstacles to health care so more people can get the treatment and services they need to make their way on the road to recovery."
New York state will receive more than $2 billion through various settlement agreements with opioid manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies that were secured by Attorney General Letitia James. A portion of the funding from these settlements will go directly to municipalities, with the remainder deposited into a dedicated fund to support prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery efforts to address the ongoing opioid epidemic.
The same legislation that established the dedicated fund also created the Opioid Settlement Fund Advisory Board, which is tasked with making recommendations on how settlement dollars should be allocated to best serve those in need. Board members issued their first recommendations on Nov. 1, 2022, identifying the expansion of harm reduction services and treatment as top priorities.
Hochul’s team said, “New York state has instituted an aggressive, multipronged approach to addressing the overdose epidemic, and created a nation-leading continuum of addiction care with full prevention, treatment, recovery and harm-reduction services. The state has worked to expand access to traditional services, including crisis services, inpatient, outpatient and residential treatment programs, as well as medication to treat addiction, and mobile treatment and transportation services.”
OASAS oversees one of the nation's largest systems of care for substance use disorder, with approximately 1,700 prevention, treatment and recovery programs serving more than 731,000 individuals per year. This includes the direct operation of 12 addiction treatment centers, where doctors, nurses and clinical staff provide inpatient and residential services to approximately 8,000 individuals per year.
New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state's toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369). Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, residential, or outpatient care can be found using the NYS OASAS treatment availability dashboard at FindAddictionTreatment.ny.gov or through the OASAS website.
If you, or a loved one, have experienced insurance obstacles related to treatment or need help filing an appeal for a denied claim, contact the CHAMP helpline by phone at 888-614-5400 or email at [email protected].