NYC Adds Funds to Opioid Fight

New York City is adding an extra $22 million to its citywide plan to fight the opioid crisis—bringing the total investment to $60 million a year—during a national debate about how to best fight the growing epidemic. The new funding will start in fiscal year 2019, ramping up in full during fiscal year 2020.

The new investment—which will be added to HealingNYC, the city’s response to preventing drug overdose deaths and helping those at risk—will be used toward establishing peer intervention programs at more hospitals and increasing the distribution of naloxone (medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose), as well as training on how use the drug. The money will also be used to connect more New Yorkers who are dealing with substance misuse to treatment opportunities.

“We all know this is a problem all over New York City,” the mayor said at Richmond University Center on Staten Island on Monday. “We know Staten Island has suffered intensely. We know the Bronx has suffered intensely, but it’s a citywide problem and we know it’s a nationwide problem. This is a national crisis. It deserves deep, consistent solutions. That’s what we’re trying to build here in this city. We’re all shocked by the intensity of this crisis, particularly how it’s grown in the last year or two. It has so much to do with fentanyl.”

In January, the city filed a lawsuit against the United States’ largest opioid manufacturers and distributors for $500 million. The mayor told reporters that fight is ongoing. “We know that’s gonna play out over many months and years likely… we’re gathering in a coalition with other jurisdictions around the country, and we think it’s gonna make a very big impact,” he explained.

First Lady Chirlane McCray—who spearheads the ThriveNYC mental health initiative and the nationwide Cities Thrive Coalition that has 200 cities as members—said the initiative is “working hard” to change the manner in which individuals think about addiction and mental illness and establish prevention protocols. Treatment, she said, includes going to a family physician trained to prescribe buprenorphine (an opioid that is used to help individuals lower or quit their use of heroin or other opiates), going to an area clinic to receive a daily dose of methadone or working with physicians and nurses to manage symptoms.

“Just as some diabetics take daily insulin shots and others don’t, some patients require more intense treatment for addiction than others,” McCray said. “The bottom line is, people suffering from addiction need our help and support—not our judgment, not punishment.”

Sign In or Register to comment.