Senator Charles Schumer was in Ithaca Friday to push federal lawmakers to quickly release $3 billion in federal funds to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic. Schumer says the funding is vital to get opioids under control in the Southern Tier and elsewhere:
Ithaca needs the money to set up its proposed 24/7 Regional Open Access Center.
SCHUMER: AMIDST RISING NUMBERS OF OPIOID DEATHS &
OVERDOSES, JUST-SIGNED SPENDING BILL PROVIDES OVER $3 BILLION TO HELP COMBAT RAGING EPIDEMIC; SENATOR DEMANDS FEDS NOT DAWDLE AND CUT THE OPIOID-CRISIS CHECK TO SOUTHERN TIER NOW
Schumer Secured Billions in Just-Passed Spending Bill to Beat Back Growing Scourge of Opioid Drug Abuse & Trafficking By Providing More Aggressive Enforcement Measures & Increasing Treatment, Prevention & Education Efforts
BUT Schumer Warns, Without Immediate Action, Money To Stop Traffickers, Execute Prevention Campaigns, and Increase Treatment Programs Could Get Mired in Red Tape and Remain In Limbo Doing Nothing For Ithaca and NY; Opioid Crisis is National Emergency That Needs to Be Addressed ASAP—And Now We Have The Money To Do It
Schumer To Feds: Southern Tier Communities Cannot Wait For These Opioid-Fighting Funds—Move This Money Now
Standing at the Alcohol and Drug Council of Tompkins County, and as the deadly opioid crisis continues to rage, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today warned that, without immediate action, New York communities, like those in the Southern Tier, could continue to wait on gaining access to the over $3 billion secured in the just-passed federal spending specifically aimed at fighting the opioid crisis. Earlier this year, President Trump called the opioid crisis a ‘national emergency,’ which Schumer said underscores the urgent need for these funds to be delivered to communities ASAP. Once delivered, Schumer said the already-secured funds will mean more treatment and rehab programs, more education programs, more prevention programs and more aggressive enforcement of drug trafficking laws in communities. Schumer today called on the feds to not delay and move these drug-fighting funds out of the coffers and into communities as soon as possible.
“Communities throughout New York, like those in Ithaca, deserve every federal resource possible to combat the growing scourge of opioid drug abuse and trafficking, and they need these resources now not later,” said Senator Schumer. “These new resources cannot be allowed to fall prey to bureaucratic delay and red tape. Countless Southern Tier communities need immediate access to treatment and prevention programs, and that’s why I went to bat for New York and pushed my colleagues to include over $3 billion in funds to combat the opioid epidemic in the just-passed spending bill.”
Schumer continued, “The depth of the opioid crisis requires all-hands-on-deck and an all-of-the-above approach. And these new federal funds will mean more treatment and rehab programs, more education programs, more prevention programs and more aggressive enforcement of drug trafficking laws. However, without immediate action, I worry that these funds could sit on the desks of bureaucrats for far too long. Today, just days after the spending bill has been signed into law, I am calling on the feds to move these drug-fighting funds out of the coffers and into communities as soon as they can.”
Specifically, the agreement provides a $3.3 billion increase over last year’s funding levels for efforts to combat the opioid and mental health crises, including more than $2.8 billion in increases for treatment, prevention, and research for programs within the Department of Health and Human Services. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will get a $1.4 billion increase over last year. SAMHSA leads our nation’s treatment efforts to address the opioid and heroin crisis gripping communities throughout New York and the rest of the nation. In each of the last two fiscal years, New York received more than $111 million from SAMHSA block grants. These grants can go towards community efforts to equip and train first responders.
Additionally, the agreement funds nearly a $2 billion increase over last year’s levels for programs in other efforts through several departments and agencies specifically targeted to attack the opioid/heroin crisis:
· $300 million more for Department of Justice initiatives including interdiction, enforcement, drug and mental health courts, and treatment programs. For instance, these funds can be used towards the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program, Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program, Veterans Treatment Courts, Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Program, and Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program;
· $350 million more for the Centers for Disease Control for preventing prescription drug overdoses;
· $500 million more in NIH funding for targeted research on opioid addiction within the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA);
· $415 million more to the Health Resources & Services Administration, which promotes health care in underserved communities and oversees Community Health Centers. There are 65 CHCs in New York, serving nearly 2 million patients in 2015 and employing more than 15,000 New Yorkers; and
· $61 million more to the Department of Veterans Affairs for additional funding for treatment and prevention ($434.6 million total).
Schumer was joined by; Angela Sullivan, Executive Director of the Alcohol and Drug Council of Tompkins County, County Administrator Jason Molino, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature Martha Robertson, Mayor of Ithaca Svante Myrick, Tompkins County Sheriff Kenneth Lansing, Tompkins County District Attorney Matt Van Houten, Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa, and Deputy Police Chief Vincent Monticello of the Ithaca Police Department.
“For more than 50 years, the Alcohol and Drug Council of Tompkins County has made it our mission to provide community-based prevention, treatment and recovery support for those suffering from addiction. The current opioid crisis has stretched our already thin capacity and strained this community in unprecedented ways. This new federal funding secured by Senator Schumer will strengthen our system of care and it WILL save lives, families, and communities,” said Angela Sullivan, Executive Director of the Alcohol and Drug Council of Tompkins County.
“Our agency, in collaboration with so many other local law enforcement agencies, have been actively fighting against the current opioid crisis in Tompkins County. The combination of enforcement and the aid given through the programs available in Tompkins County have allowed this community to make many positive strides in this fight. The increased funding and assistance secured by Senator Schumer can only aid us in our goals to make Tompkins County a safer and healthier community,” said Ken Lansing, Sheriff of Tompkins County.
“The toll of opioids has been felt across New York State. Large or small, no county has been spared. Opioid issues do not recognize geographic boundaries. It will be the responsibility of numerous agencies working together to adequately deal with opioids in our community. The Chemung County Health Department works with various county departments, local drug treatment facilities and local law enforcement to address this serious issue. The recent federal funding secured by Senator Schumer will provide more resources to combat this crisis across the board,” said Peter Buzzetti, Public Health Director of Chemung County.
“This major increase in federal funding to fight the opioid epidemic will help save lives in Broome County. I want to thank Senator Schumer for fighting for this funding that is so desperately needed. But, it can’t wait. I support the Senator’s call to expedite this funding so we can provide more treatment and more support to our law enforcement agencies and grassroots organizations who are working every day to reduce the number of fatal overdoses,” said Jason Garnar, Broome County Executive.
A CDC report shows that in 2016, the rate of drug overdose deaths across the country was 21 percent higher than the rate in 2015. In upstate New York, overdose deaths skyrocketed by 23 percent last year, with a total of 1,392 opioid overdose deaths in 2016. According to the New York State Department of Health, there were 125 opioid-related deaths in the Southern Tier in 2016, compared to 90 opioid-related deaths in 2015—an increase of 35.
Schumer today called on the feds to do everything in their power to move these specific pots of money immediately. Schumer said, often times, bureaucracy can get in the way of moving federal funds quickly into the hands of those organizations and local programs that need them the most; however, this is a national crisis that simply cannot wait to be addressed. Schumer said the drug-fighting funds in the just-passed spending bill will mean more treatment beds for New York, more education programs, more prevention programs, and more aggressive enforcement of drug trafficking. Schumer said these are all efforts that need to be funded right now and said the feds should cut these checks and deliver this already secured aid immediately.