Suffolk County Executive Bellone Announces $20 Million in Second Round of Opioid Grant Funding
By CHRIS BOYLE
August 25, 2023
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today joined with county legislators, health officials, and victim’s advocates to announce the allocation of $20 million as part of the second round of opioid grant funding resulting from a landmark court victory and award settlements from opioid manufacturers, distributors, and retail pharmacies. The application, now live, is open to any entity, including non-profits, healthcare systems, and public and private agencies, that provide services in relation to the opioid epidemic, including, prevention, education, treatment, and recovery.
Suffolk County was the first county in New York State to sue drug makers in connection with the opioid crisis. The County has since reached settlement agreements with major opioid distributors and major retail pharmacies. These much needed funds will assist the County in the ongoing battle against the opioid crisis, along with providing assistance to those who have been affected
“It is crucial that we continue our fight against the opioid epidemic and provide essential support to those affected by addiction,” said Suffolk County Executive, Steve Bellone. “The $20 million in grant funding being offered today serves as a critical lifeline in this ongoing fight that will allow us to expand prevention efforts, enhance treatment options, and strengthen support services for those among us who have been devastated by this tragedy.”
This second round of funding, totaling $20 million, is available to any entity, including non-profits, healthcare systems, and public and private agencies, that provide services in relation to the opioid epidemic, including, prevention, education, treatment, and recovery. Agencies can submit proposals to address the opioid crisis through the expansion of existing programs, the establishment of new programs, as well as proposals that encourage innovation. A selection panel, comprised of the County Executive’s Office, the Presiding Officer, the Minority Leader, and the Health Commissioner, or their designees, along with a victim advocate, will review the applications in conjunction with substance use disorder experts at the Health Department.
Interested parties can apply through the proposal portal, which goes live today, August 25th, and will remain available until close of business on September 29th of this year.
Since the formation of The Suffolk County Opioid Task Force in 2021, created by County Executive Bellone, the county has made remarkable progress. The Task Force, through extensive collaboration with local experts and stakeholders, developed a guidance document outlining the goals and guidelines for the use of the opioid settlement dollars. Their comprehensive report was released on July 25, 2022 and quickly followed by a first-round funding announcement of $25 million.
In the first round of funding, Suffolk County awarded $25 million to 39 programs, both new and existing, for up to three years. An additional $11,225,000 was allocated to four capital projects. These previous funding awards will make a significant impact in advancing prevention and treatment efforts throughout the county. The focus of the initial round of proposals included prevention, harm reduction, treatment, recovery, and various concepts such as vocational training, youth prevention, family counseling, peer support services, mobile response, housing, education, and workforce development. The awardees thus far represent a diverse range of organizations including not-for-profits, community-based organizations, hospital systems, county departments, and town treatment and youth programs.
Minority Leader Jason Richberg said: “We all know someone in our lives who has been impacted by the opioid epidemic, and these funds are going to go a long way in providing resources and giving residents options in their fight against addiction. The goal is not only to have an immediate impact, but to have a long-standing impact and make sure the funds go to organizations and groups who are on the frontlines and can have a tangible effect and help change lives. If someone wants help, we have a duty to make sure that help is available and easily accessible.”
Legislator Sarah Anker said: “The previous round of opioid settlement funds went directly into our communities that were hit hardest by the opioid crisis. We received 111 applications from 77 different organizations, with proposals that focused on programs for prevention and harm reduction as well as treatment and recovery programs for those struggling with substance abuse. With this next round of $20 million in funding, we have the opportunity to make even greater strides as we continue to combat the opioid crisis. I would like to encourage all community-based organizations, hospitals, county departments, treatment facilities and youth-prevention programs to apply.”
Rebecca Sanin President/CEO of the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island said: “The second round of funding for organizations that prevent, treat and honor the lives of our Suffolk County neighbors battling the disease of addiction is sorely needed and welcomed by the nonprofit community whose vital missions are focused on promotion of recovery and restoration of hope for families and communities. The escalated need for these services is impacting families, schools, the regional workforce and communities and these landmark dollars represent a vital opportunity to build a sustainable, safe and healthy future in Suffolk County.”
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