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Hochul directs $8 million toward harm reduction strategies to reduce overdoses


Wed, Aug 30th 2023 04:30 pm

Request for applications aims to expand harm reduction services for priority populations using drugs; seeks development of comprehensive training program for coroners

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced the launch of further funding opportunities to develop harm reduction inventions for priority populations who are particularly vulnerable to overdose, as well as study fatalities connected to opioids statewide.

The New York State Department of Health recently posted two new requests for applications and directed additional investments in several harm reduction programs financed through the state’s opioid settlement fund.

“The opioid crisis is not just a public health issue – it is a crisis of humanity that touches every corner of the state,” Hochul said. "This funding underscores our commitment to holding manufactures and distributors accountable while ensuring affected communities have the resources and compassion needed to end this epidemic.”

New York will receive more than $2 billion through settlement agreements with opioid manufacturers. A portion of these settlements are going directly to municipalities statewide, with the remainder dedicated to supporting prevention, treatment, recovery, harm reduction, and education efforts to address the ongoing opioid epidemic.

The two new funding opportunities through the opioid settlement fund total nearly $8 million, and include:

√ Expanding harm reduction services for priority populations who use drugs, with applications due Oct. 3 ($7.5 million over two years).

√ Development of a comprehensive coroner training program in New York, with applications due Oct. 5 ($400,000 over two years).

New York State Health Department Commissioner James McDonald said, “Opioid use disorder and other drug dependencies can be challenging chronic diseases, yet are treatable and long-term recovery is possible. In order to combat the overdose epidemic, New York state has implemented a multifaceted strategy under the direction of Gov. Hochul. This funding aims to increase access to harm reduction services, including medications to treat addiction, supportive counseling, and other preventive health care services. It also includes a comprehensive training program for coroners who serve an important role in public health.”

New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports Commissioner Dr. Chinazo Cunningham said, "The opioid settlement fund is helping to expand access to harm reduction and other supports across New York state, in particular for high-need individuals and populations who may face barriers accessing services. Harm reduction saves lives, and initiatives like this are vital in connecting people to the help and resources that they need. We look forward to continued collaboration with the governor and our partner agencies to ensure that all New Yorkers can access services, no matter where they live."

New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “This funding will be targeted to help New Yorkers who most need our support – high-risk individuals in underserved areas of the state. These resources will enable us to fight the tragedy of the opioid crisis by expanding and strengthening culturally relevant harm reduction and treatment services, and we at OMH are proud to partner with the Department of Health in this critical work.”

Other programs allocated funding by the department through the opioid settlement fund include expansion of harm reduction programs ($12.5 million) and New York Medication Assisted Treatment & Emergency Referrals (NY-MATTERS) in partnership with University at Buffalo Medical Department ($8 million), collectively totaling $28 million in allocated funding.

Additionally, to date, the New York State Department of Health has spent more than $13.5 million to provide naloxone to opioid overdose prevention programs between April 2022 and March 2023. More than 35,000 instances of naloxone administrations have been reported since 2006. Of this, more than 20,000 administrations have been reported by community members, with over 11,000 coming from the department’s syringe exchange programs. The agency’s Naloxone co-payment assistance program (N-CAP) covers up to a $40 co-payment for naloxone at pharmacies, and has processed 9,683 claims from July 2022 through June 2023, with an average co-pay of $16.

For additional information on harm reduction services, visit NYSDOH “Safer Choices for People Who Use Drugs”: https://www.health.ny.gov/community/opioid_epidemic/user_health/.

Available addiction treatment, including crisis/detox, inpatient, residential, or outpatient care, can be found using the Office of Addiction Services and Supports’ (OASAS) treatment availability dashboard or on the agency's website. 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, seven-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (short code 467369).

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