Governor Kathy Hochul today announced up to $20 million is available to support addiction services providers in New York State that have been impacted by the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Administered by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports, the federal funding will assist providers with fiscal recovery and enable them to continue offering COVID-safe substance use disorder prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery services.
“New Yorkers continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in all aspects of daily life, including addiction treatment,” Governor Hochul said. “Like far too many New Yorkers, my family has lost a loved one battling with addiction, and this funding will be integral in helping treatment providers continue their crucial work. My administration will continue our work to support providers to help New Yorkers who need it most.”
New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said, “Our providers have done heroic work, remaining open and operational, despite the numerous obstacles created by COVID-19. This funding will help to stabilize our system and allow our providers to continue to provide life-saving care and services for some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers.”
Many addiction services providers faced significant financial stress during the pandemic as they met the challenges imposed by the public health crisis. These added expenses included an increase in telehealth services, meeting COVID-19 safety protocols, and other workforce challenges related the pandemic.
In addition, the ongoing opioid and overdose epidemic continues to impact individuals, families, and communities across New York State. The result has been a dual health crisis that is straining resources in addiction services.
Funded through the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant award authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act of 2021, the initiative will offer addiction services providers an opportunity to resume programs interrupted by the pandemic and sustain or enhance existing programs and services. The goal is to allow these providers to continue offering a nation-leading level of care to those seeking treatment.
Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, New York State has instituted an aggressive, multi-pronged 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.
Governor Hochul was a member of the New York State Heroin and Opioid Task Force, which in 2016, recommended new, non-traditional services, including recovery centers, youth clubhouses, expanded peer services, and open access centers, which provide immediate assessments and referrals to care. These services have since been established in numerous communities around the state and have helped people in need access care closer to where they live.
Senator Chuck Schumer said, “New York is on the frontline of the opioid scourge, and that is why I fought so hard to make sure the federal COVID relief bills included historic increases to bolster treatment, prevention, and recovery services. This $20 million boost will give addiction-services providers the support they need to keep saving lives and help communities that need it most.”
Representative Paul Tonko said, “We have seen the devastating impact of the pandemic on our health care system, including worsening our nation’s ongoing opioid crisis. That’s why I pushed hard in Congress to deliver a COVID rescue package that addressed the disease of addiction by strengthening and expanding the federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program. I was successful in that effort and was proud to cast my vote last year to pass our COVID response package. I’m delighted to see this package delivering life-saving support to our New York communities, and I thank all whose leadership and advocacy continue to provide hope to those who need it most.”
State Senator Pete Harckham, Chair of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, said, “This additional funding and support for Substance Use Disorder treatment providers still trying to regain their operational footing post-pandemic will save lives statewide. With the increase in opioid overdoses these past several years, it is imperative that we commit the necessary resources to widening access to treatment, recovery and harm reduction services. I appreciate Governor Hochul’s strong efforts in this regard.”
Assemblymember Phil Steck said, “Any additional funding we can attain to assist our treatment providers achieve their mission is welcome news. COVID-19 wreaked havoc on our treatment facilities as many of them are congregant settings. Upscaling our telehealth services, while making accommodations to congregant-setting facilities and increasing and incentivizing the workforce, will allow for more individual to receive treatment for substance use disorder.”
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).