June 29, 2022
With $150 million in new funding over the next five years, the city will invest in expanded lifesaving services for people who use opioids
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today presented the city’s initial investments from opioid settlement funds secured for the city by New York Attorney General Letitia James from settlements with various manufacturers and opioid distributors. The funds will be used to strengthen existing services, build workforce capacity and support families who have lost loved ones. These investments stem from the first round of payments New York City received from the fund.
“Too many New Yorkers have suffered death and addiction and too many families and communities have been torn apart,” said Mayor Adams. “With funding secured by Attorney General James of Big Pharma, we will address the multiple crises that have arisen from the opioid epidemic – from harm reduction to expanding treatment options, to supporting families who have lost loved ones to drug overdoses. This money will help us save lives, and I thank Attorney General James for her partnership in addressing the opioid crisis and building a healthier and safer New York City. »
“Opioid addiction and overdose prevention have been and remain the most serious health issues facing the city, state and country,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Social Services Anne Williams-Isom. “It hits home, as many of us have a family member, friend or colleague affected by the problem. This initial funding will reaffirm and invest in the work of reaching individuals and families in need, whether they are grieving the loss of a loved one or struggling with addiction. The City’s support for those impacted by this issue will be strengthened and sustained over the months and years to come, as we know the road to health and recovery can be a long one.
“Every strategy, every tactic and every dollar we spend must be aimed at saving lives, and we know a public health approach is needed to achieve that,” said Dr. Ashwin Vasan, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). “Through a coordinated, inter-agency approach grounded in prevention, harm reduction and treatment, this funding will ensure successful programs get the support they need and allow us to explore new innovations to alleviate this crisis and keep people alive. The urgency has never been greater. »
“NYC Health + Hospitals sees patients for opioid overdose and addiction at all hours of the day,” said Charles Barron, MD, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Office of Behavioral Health, NYC Health + Hospitals. “These additional funds will help our addiction counseling teams provide care when and where it is needed, whether in one of our hospital departments, such as maternity or psychiatry, or through our help for the street homeless.
“Our unique and close relationship with families affected by fatal opioid overdoses has shown that survivors often struggle with a range of needs in addition to coping with their immediate loss,” said New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jason Graham. “With this additional funding, we will expand our ongoing efforts to reach those bereaved by opioid overdose deaths, and provide tailored support as needed to help prevent further tragedies.”
With this first round of investments, $150 million over the next five years will be used to:
- Strengthening harm reduction and treatment in communities
- Maintain and expand the hours and services of the city’s existing Needle Service Programs (SSPs) that operate Overdose Prevention Centers (OPCs) to reduce the risk of overdose among people who use drugs and provide links to other services and supports, such as treatment.
- Expand access to Street Health Outreach and Wellness (SHOW) harm reduction mobile clinics and connections to provide care in communities hardest hit by the overdose epidemic.
- Expand support for treatment optimization strategies
- Support additional staff within the city’s public hospital system to expand their ER substance use consultation team to 24/7 operations in 11 hospitals.
- Train behavioral health personnel to gain expertise in addressing co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders.
- Strengthen community support for people who use drugs and their families
- Expand support for families of people who die of overdose by connecting them to essential mental health and social services in the critical window following a death and based on their unique needs.
These investments will help New York City grow and build on initiatives that save lives and provide access to treatment and other services. HealingNYC — the city’s existing plan to address the opioid overdose epidemic — has taken significant steps to address this ongoing crisis, including conducting public awareness campaigns about fentanyl, working with ambassadors and community organizations to distribute fentanyl test strips, increasing the capacity of needle service programs to conduct outreach and service engagement activities, and distribute naloxone kits. This planned $150 million investment will build on the city’s $60 million annual allocation for HealingNYC and other core investments to support overdose prevention, harm reduction and treatment initiatives. In the coming months, the city will release its new plan to address the opioid overdose crisis, as it works to build on and refine current strategies and integrate these new investments. in existing works.
New York City also saw the opening of the first two publicly recognized OPCs in the country, which provide a continuum of services to meet basic needs and offer links to treatment for people who use drugs. Since opening in November 2021, the two New York OPCs have responded to more than 300 potential overdoses.
There are three main pools of funds from New York settlements. The first pool will go through the office of the New York State Attorney General. The second pool will go through the New York State Office of Substance Abuse and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), guided by the Opioid Settlement Board. The third pool is a direct funding mechanism to localities for approved uses. Through this mechanism, New York City will receive approximately $286 million over the next 18 years, and of that amount, $150 million over the next five years will be used to support the initiatives listed above.
This funding comes at an urgent time. In the third quarter of 2021, there were 709 overdose deaths in New York City, compared to 552 overdose deaths during the same period in 2020, according to a recently released DOHMH report. The third quarter of 2021 saw the highest number of overdose deaths in a single quarter of any quarter on record. If these trends continue, DOHMH expects the number of overdose deaths in 2021 to surpass that of 2020, which saw the highest number of overdoses in New York since records began in 2000.
“I welcome the Mayor’s announcement ahead of tomorrow’s City Council oversight hearing. The opioid epidemic has devastated families in our city and they deserve clarity on how the settlement funds will be administered. “, said New York City Council Member Linda Lee, Chair of Mental Health Disorders and Addictions Committee. “I applaud the Mayor and his team for their well-thought-out plans to spend these funds and look forward to providing oversight so that every penny secured by Attorney General James effectively saves, treats, educates and recovers our affected communities. disproportionately by vicious circles of dependency.”