Opioid overdose reduction task force launched by Hochul administration



(The Center Square) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced the launch of a new task force aimed at combating overdoses, using funds received through opioid manufacturer settlements.

Hochul is directing $8 million for the development of “harm reduction interventions for priority populations,” which the governor says are more vulnerable to overdoses. In addition, the funding will study opioid deaths throughout the state.

The governor lamented the crisis as a public health issue that can be felt throughout the state while pointing the fingers at manufacturers for fueling the epidemic.

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

The state is set to receive over $2 billion from settlements with opioid manufacturers, which a portion of the funds will be divided statewide to be shared with municipalities to support prevention, treatment, education and recovery efforts in addressing the crisis.

In addition, the New York State Department of Health has allocated a total of $28 million through the Opioid Settlement Fund to expand harm reduction programs and medication-assisted treatment programs.

The Department of Health has spent over $13.5 million between April 2022 and March 2023, providing naloxone for opioid overdose prevention programs throughout the state.

Since 2006, the state has reported naloxone has been administered over 35,000 times, with more than 20,000 administrations reported through the community. The state says over 11,000 stems 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,” according to the governor’s office.

New York State Health Department Commissioner James McDonald stressed the importance of utilizing medications to combat the crisis, which he argues is part of a multifaceted approach to treatment.

“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,” said McDonald.

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