May 27, 2021
Below please find a draft copy of a sign on letter being circulated statewide seeking support from state associations and their individual members.
If you would like to sign on to this letter, please let me know by COB tomorrow (Friday) and I will forward your information along with other NYS Council member agency sign on’s to the leads on the letter.
Re: Coalition of addiction treatment, recovery and harm reduction advocates unite to urge the New York State Legislature to Pass a “Same-As” Opioid Settlement Bill this session.
Overdose deaths involving opioids have killed more than half a million people over the past two decades. This public health crisis has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, with some counties like Albany reporting an increase of 44% in drug-related overdose deaths.
We urge you to ensure that the resources from the forthcoming opioid settlement are used to address this problem. The dollars from the opioid litigation are not a gift to the states. They are the representation of the devastation caused by the opioid companies. These dollars signify the millions of New Yorkers we have lost to addiction: our children, our sisters and brothers, our friends, and our families.
To ensure that these dollars are spent on the addiction crisis, we ask that you come to an agreement THIS SESSION on opioid settlement bill language that encompasses the following key elements:
1: Establish a dedicated fund for the settlement dollars. This money should not be directed to the state’s general fund.
2: Supplement and do not supplant current funds. Ensure these dollars go to support or expand existing services for prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery.
3: Create an advisory board of diverse stakeholders to ensure racial equity and inclusion in all evidence-based SUD programs and services offered in NY.
We appreciate your ongoing work to reduce the number of deaths due to substance use in New York. The additional financial resources available to jurisdictions will be a major step forward in this effort.
As stated, we urge the Assembly and Senate to pass a “same-as” bill this session, to ensure that these forthcoming dollars are used to address the increasing need for substance use disorder services, which has been alarmingly exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. We look forward to working with you and would be happy to discuss our thoughts in more detail.