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Cuomo: $23M for Long Island for anti-opioid programs

At THRIVE rehabilitation center in Hauppauge, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, that the state budget includes $23 million for Long Island for anti-opioid programs and addiction treatment as part of $213 million in spending statewide to address what he called the drug "scourge." The statewide amount is double what was in the 2011 budget, state health officials said. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state budget includes $23 million for Long Island for anti-opioid programs and addiction treatment included in $213 million in spending statewide to address the drug “scourge.”

The statewide funding is double the amount spent in the 2011 budget, state health officials said.

Cuomo made the announcement at THRIVE rehabilitation center in Hauppauge.

Cuomo said heroin and prescription opioids represent “the worst drug scourge the nation has ever faced,” and that the problem has hit suburbs particularly hard.

Opioid deaths doubled statewide from 2010 to 2015, he said. Almost 500 Long Islanders died of opioid overdoses in 2016, according to recent statistics.

Linda Ventura of Kings Park, whose 21-year-old son, Thomas, died of a heroin overdose in 2012, said the money will help build on past progress.

“We have to keep our foot on the pedal,” she said, turning to Cuomo. “So governor, we’ll be back next year.”

The additional money will fund 8,000 new residential treatment facility beds, at a cost of $65 million, and 45,000 outpatient beds across the state.

About $27 million will go toward state-operated drug treatment facilities. Additional money will be set aside for family support and peer-to-peer services.

Jeffrey Reynolds, president and chief executive of the Family and Children’s Association, which operates THRIVE, called the state money “a big step forward.”

He said additional money is needed for prevention programs, inpatient and outpatient treatment slots and recovery programs.

“Is it enough? It would be hard to pick a number where I’d look and say ‘That’s enough,’ given everything going on in Long Island,” Reynolds said. “By all indicators, everything’s getting worse.”

Of the $23 million for Long Island, about $9.5 million will be spent on outpatient opioid treatment; $3.3 million will go to state operated addiction treatment centers and $733,000 will be spent on crisis detox programs, Cuomo administration officials said.

State Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport), Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano joined Cuomo for the announcement.

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