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NY gets $5.5M job training grant to fight opioid crisis

State officials said the money will partly be used to help provide new skills to recovering addicts and other workers affected by the opioid epidemic.

The state Department of Labor has received more than $5.5 million in federal grant money that will be used toward job and workforce training for residents affected by the opioid epidemic, according to state and federal officials.

The funding — provided through the federal Department of Labor's National Dislocated Worker Grants — will go to participants in 22 counties, including Nassau and Suffolk, a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor stated. The release specified the Town of Hempstead and Long Beach in Nassau County but it was not immediately clear how much of the funding would go to Long Island overall.

"The opioid epidemic has tragically taken the lives of too many New Yorkers and continues to impact communities all across [the] state," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a news release distributed by the state Friday. "This funding will allow us to expand programs that not only provide treatment but also support career opportunities for New Yorkers combating addiction and help finally make the opioid epidemic a thing of the past." 

Fatal opioid overdoses on Long Island decreased to 483 in 2018, down from a high of 614 in 2017, according to data provided by the police departments and medical examiners in Nassau and Suffolk counties. The figures are estimates because in some cases toxicology reports can take years to finish.

The grant was awarded in January, according to the federal release. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced it in Rochester on Friday.

The money will help provide new skills to recovering addicts and other workers affected by the opioid crisis, the state release said. It will also be used for workforce development in professions such as addiction treatment, pain management and therapy and mental health treatment.

Hochul announced earlier this month at a Suffolk County opioid forum that federal officials had granted the state $7.5 million to expand substance abuse addiction services.

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