New York State Opioid Settlement Advisory Board discusses state’s rejected recommendations

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ALBANY, NY (WENY) — Last week the State Office of Addiction Services and Supports sent a letter to the Opioid Settlement Advisory Board rejecting two of their recommendations to the state about how to allocate the settlement funds. In a meeting Wednesday, the advisory board member discuss their response.

The Opioid Settlement Advisory Board sent their recommendation report to the state on Nov. 1, 2022. They have 14 days to respond from the date they received the state’s letter.

The letter essentially rejects the boards recommendations to fund harm reduction efforts under the Department of Health and overdose prevention centers.

The Commissioner from the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports said the state rejected the board’s recommendations because of state and federal laws but that harm reduction continues to be a priority for the state.

“We know that this is a crisis, and we know that people are dying every day,” said Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, Commissioner of New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports.

Overdose prevention centers are not legal under federal law. However, New York City hosts the only two centers in the country under its jurisdiction. And advocates from those prevention centers said they are critical to helping individuals struggling with addiction.

“Overdose prevention centers save lives; they save the lives of people directly impacted by the opioid epidemic,” said Kailin See, Senior Director of Programs for OnPoint NYC.

See said at OnPoint they have saved 655 lives since they opened a year ago.

“We are having an impact on the opioid epidemic; we are having an impact on the reduction of lives lost to overdose,” said Sam Rivera, Executive Director for OnPoint NYC.

A majority of advisory board members said they also feel that overdose prevention centers play a significant role in saving lives from the opioid epidemic.

Moving forward, the Commissioner of the Office of Addiction Services and Supports said now that they have the advisory boards recommendations they can start working with state agencies to allocate funds.


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