Expansion of Street Outreach Services Aimed at Reaching Vulnerable and Underserved Populations
Initiative the Latest to Utilize New York State's Opioid Settlement Fund
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that up to $3.75 million is available to expand outreach and engagement services designed to connect vulnerable populations with addiction supports and other health services. Administered by the State Office of Addiction Services and Supports, the initiative is the latest to tap New York State's Opioid Settlement Fund and specifically designed to reach individuals in high-need populations that may not have access to care otherwise.
"We are taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to addressing the opioid crisis across New York State, including in underserved areas that are lacking addiction services and supports," Governor Hochul said. "The street outreach services funded through these grants will help marginalized populations access the life-saving care they need to break the vicious cycle of addiction."
The funding will provide up to 12 awards of $250,000 to cover operating expenses for street outreach services. The funding will also provide 10 awards of $75,000 for providers outside of the five-county New York City region to purchase vehicles for use in engaging hard-to-reach populations.
The outreach teams visit areas where high-risk populations tend to congregate — places such as parks and encampments of people experiencing homelessness — to offer overdose prevention and education, naloxone distribution, and basic supplies. During these visits, outreach workers also attempt to identify additional engagement opportunities that can help these individuals mitigate the harm associated with substance use.
OASAS now funds 20 providers offering these services in New York, Bronx, Richmond, Erie, Monroe, Sullivan, Tompkins and Albany counties. The goal through this funding opportunity is to establish one provider each in Kings County and Queens County, with 10 others to serve areas outside of New York City.
Providers certified by OASAS and the State Office of Mental Health, hospitals, syringe service programs, drug user health hubs, and federally qualified health centers are eligible to apply for the funding.
New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said, "We are continuing to work on addressing barriers that keep some people from accessing these life-saving services and meeting them wherever they are to connect them to the help that they need. These services have proven successful in the past and their expansion to more parts of this state will enable more people to access critical help and support."
New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Ann Sullivan said, "Reaching and engaging people in high-needs populations who are not receiving care for their substance use issues is critically important. These funding opportunities presented by OASAS will increase engagement efforts, save lives and help people recover from addiction. I applaud Governor Hochul and my colleagues at OASAS for their commitment to expanding their outreach efforts and access to treatment."
New York State Department of Health Acting Commissioner James McDonald said, "In order to combat the overdose epidemic, our state has implemented an aggressive, multifaceted strategy under the direction of Governor Hochul. This funding aims to increase access to traditional services like crisis services, inpatient, outpatient, and residential treatment programs, as well as medications to treat addiction, mobile treatment, and transportation services."
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 November 1, identifying the expansion of harm reduction services and treatment as top priorities.
New York continues to grapple with opioid-related deaths, with fentanyl now involved in most overdose deaths statewide. The latest data from the State Department of Health on opioid-related deaths is available here.
New York State has instituted an aggressive, multi-pronged approach to address the overdose epidemic, and created a nation-leading continuum of addiction care with full prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery 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, mobile treatment, and transportation services.
Governor Hochul was a member of the New York State Heroin and Opioid Task Force, which recommended new, non-traditional services, including recovery centers, youth clubhouses, expanded peer services, and open access centers to provide immediate assessments and referrals to care in 2016. 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.
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 NYS 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].
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