US Senate News:
Source: United States Senator for New York Charles E Schumer
Opioid Overdoses – Fueled By Fentanyl – Killed 186 Onondaga County Residents In 2021, An All-Time High Surpassing Record 156 Fatal Overdoses Recorded in 2020; Pandemic Took A Toll That Will Take Years To Overcome Without Right Amount Of Dollars & Action By Feds; Locals Cannot Do This Alone
Senator Says A Supercharge Of Fed Funds He’ll Fight For Will Allow National Drug Control Programs To Hone In On More Localities With Specific Needs, Like CNY; Prevention, Treatment & Addiction Recovery Efforts Would All See More Fed Help Under $3.2B Plus-Up Plan
Schumer: Fatal Overdose Numbers In CNY, Made Worse By COVID, Could Hover High For Years If Feds Don’t Act With Robust Help
Standing at Helio Health’s Regional Addiction Treatment Center, following back-to-back record deadly years for opioid overdoses in Syracuse and Onondaga County, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer launched and detailed his formal push to supercharge the federal funds that help the nation and Central New York organizations like Helio Health combat the public health crisis that is opioid addiction by $3.2 billion dollars. Schumer cited recent Post Standard-Syracuse.com reporting that showed fatal overdoses in Onondaga County have increased more than 100% over the last six years as he made the case for the feds to increase three specific goals within the National Drug Control Strategy: prevention, treatment and recovery.
“The data shows that Syracuse and Central New York are on the front line of the opioid scourge, and today’s push is to supercharge the funds that can have a meaningful impact saving lives,” said Senator Schumer. “In far too many communities, including Central New York, the pandemic has made opioid addiction and its health impacts worse. That is why we need an all-of-the-above approach: more interdiction, prevention, treatment and recovery, to fight the flow of drugs, and more effectively assist those who are suffering from addiction.”
The opioid crisis in Onondaga County is severe with 186 fatal overdose deaths in 2021, a 19% increase from the previous record-high 156 deaths in 2020. The epidemic has been made worse by a scourge of fentanyl in Syracuse and across Upstate New York, which the senator says calls for robust action to bolster the agencies fighting addiction and drug trafficking on the frontlines.
That is why Schumer said he is calling for a supercharge of $3.2 billion-dollars in the federal budget for agencies who support the National Drug Control Strategy to defend against this public health scourge. Schumer added the increase in funding will allow Central New York organizations like Helio Health to tap more dollars to further support evidence-based prevention, treatment, and addiction recovery services.
Schumer added. “I’ve already talked to the White House about this and I am confident we can get bipartisan support for this supercharge, as well, because we are seeing this as a national trend in many ways, transcending ideology and the like.”
Examples of National Drug Control Strategy funds needed and currently being used in Central New York include:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – $10.7B (Schumer wants a $1.489 billion dollar increase in drug treatment-related funding), including:
$553M for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) Expansion Grant program, an increase of $303 million over last year.
The CCBHC Expansion program is designed to increase access and improve the quality of community mental and substance use disorder treatment services by providing comprehensive community-based mental and substance use disorder services; treatment of co-occurring disorders; advance the integration of mental/substance use disorder treatment with physical health care; assimilate and utilize evidence-based practices on a more consistent basis and promote improved access to high quality care
Since 2017, Helio Health has used CCBHC funding to serve over 17,000 unique individuals from 54 counties with substance abuse and mental health disorders and hired over 60 new front-line staff. In the last 12 months alone, Helio served 113% more individuals than before becoming a CCBHC. It has recently used this funding to expand services to veterans and into schools.
$2B for the State Opioid Response Grants (SOR) program, an increase of $500M over FY22 enacted.
Funds flow from Feds through NYS to providers.
Helio Health, along with a coalition of local providers, has received millions of dollars from the SOR program to expand access to treatment 24/7/365, create mobile medication units to reach vulnerable populations, establish partnerships with criminal justice entities to divert individuals to treatment in lieu of incarnation and peer support groups for those in recovery.
$68 million for SAMHSA’s First Responder Training for Opioid Overdose-Related Drugs (FR-CARA) program, an increase of $26 million over last year.
This vital program provides funding to state, Tribal, and local governments to train and equip first responders to administer naloxone, a medication that can treat narcotic overdose.
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program (HIDTA) – $293.5M (Schumer wants to increase this pot by $3.5 million, so Onondaga County can tap more). Onondaga County is part of the NY-NJ HIDTA program, which helps local drug tasks forces with joint operations that bust traffickers and trafficking supply chains.
The Drug-Free Communities Support Program – $106 million. The DFC Program funds community based coalitions across the country and in Syracuse focused on preventing and reducing youth substance abuse.
Onondaga Council on Alcoholism & Addictions, Inc. – $133,563
Schumer said, overall, adding $3.2 billion more to the National Drug Control Strategy would boost the total pot to $42.5 billion. He said that, with the overall boost in funding, Onondaga County would be able to, and would absolutely; receive more funds to help combat the pandemic-fueled increases in opioid addiction. This builds on Schumer’s work negotiating the American Rescue Plan, which already included nearly $4 billion for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Use And Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to ramp up critical mental health and substance use disorder treatment and services in our communities.