Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman announces new recipients of Nassau...

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman announces new recipients of Nassau County’s allotment of opioid settlement money on Wednesday in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman on Wednesday said the county will distribute $5.2 million to seven programs focusing on mental health and substance abuse counseling. 

The funding comes from $60 million the county is expected to spend over the next four years from the settlement of a landmark lawsuit against opioid manufacturer and distributors. Blakeman has said he would spend $15 million annually on drug prevention, education and treatment using the settlement funds. 

Nearly $3 million of the total funding announced Wednesday will go toward building and staffing a new intensive crisis stabilization center, expected to open by the end of the year or early next year in Hicksville. 

CN Guidance & Counseling Services will operate the center, which will be open 24 hours, seven days per week to provide walk-in counseling and services to people in a mental health or substance use crisis.

The facility is expected to be staffed by medical and behavioral health specialists in a "calming and healing environment" designed as an alternative to a hospital emergency room, said Jeffrey Friedman, CEO of CN Guidance & Counseling Services, which currently serves about 30,000 people annually. 

"Instead of flooding the hospital emergency rooms — where many folks don't need that level of care — here they would get treatment on demand and get into a program," said Friedman who said he applied for the funding in partnership with several other organizations. 

This is the second round of applications funded in eight months. The county received 61 applications from various organizations, said county spokesman Christopher Boyle. 

The administration announced the first round of funding — $2.4 million — in September 2022. Blakeman said Wednesday a third round  will be announced in about 60 days.  

A 17-member panel of experts determine which applications receive funding, Boyle said. The next awards will go to applicants who did not receive money in the second round, he said, and there will be no new request for proposals. 

Jeffrey Reynolds, president and CEO of the Family and Children's Association, said it received $640,000 to implement a "sherpa" program in which users are paired with those in recovery to "guide them to safety." 

"Long Island's opioid crisis now goes back 20 years .... and finally we've come full circle with the dollars that will help clean up the mess being deployed into the community," Reynolds said.

Blakeman said he believed his administration has been "deliberate" in the pace it has distributed the funds.

"We have received communications from people who wanted us to speed up the process and I think we're going at a very good pace. We want to make sure that the money is used well," Blakeman said. 

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Montauk dredging complete … Downtown Mineola development … American Thrift  Credit: Newsday

Updated 32 minutes ago Lattingtown house fire ... Roosevelt HS ROTC robotics ... NYS LI water quality grants ... Mets spring training

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