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Westchester distributes over $4.1 million from opioid settlement: Where the money went

Westchester County says over $4.1 million dollars have been distributed to drug treatment, prevention and recovery programs across the county to tackle a growing opioid and overdose crisis in the state.

County Executive George Latimer said in a news conference Thursday that the funds were a result of a 2019 lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James against drug distributers and manufacturers.

Since 2014, an addiction epidemic has killed over 31,700 New Yorkers, according to USA Today reporting. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the issue, as opioid deaths rose 68% from 2019 to 2021. 5,481 deaths statewide were drug related in 2021 alone.

$5.8 million was awarded in total to Westchester through the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports to address overdose deaths in Westchester.

The $4.1 million is the first round of allocation for these funds. Latimer said additional requests for proposals will be released shortly to address other needs by the county’s Opioid Response and Overdose Prevention Initiative, launched in 2022 in response to a local rise in overdose deaths.

“This funding is a crucial step in our ongoing battle against addiction, and the opioid crisis,” Latimer said. “By supporting local organizations dedicated to treatment, prevention, recovery and harm reduction, we are making a tangible difference in the lives of those affected by this epidemic.”

Latimer says Westchester’s ORI committee serves a number of functions, including collecting and analyzing data about overdoses and overdose deaths locally, increasing community prevention, education and outreach, increasing access to treatment and enforcing harm reduction strategies like education and distribution of Naloxone, more commonly known as Narcan.

How is the money allocated?

Latimer said the ORI opened a request for proposal allowing local community organizations to submit proposals for use of the settlement funds in the categories of prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery. 

Of the $4,118,841 being distributed:

Treatment

  • Lexington Center for Recovery, Inc. – $395,237
  • Family Services of Westchester – $330,278
  • Westchester Jewish Community Services – $234,988
  • St. John’s Riverside Hospital – $380,000
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) County Corrections – $1,268,280

Prevention

  • Partnership to End Addiction – $600,000

Recovery

  • Family Services of Westchester – $176,434

Harm Reduction

  • Urban League of Westchester County, Inc. – $249,458
  • Cornerstone Family Healthcare – $173,416

Training

  • Lives Forward, Westchester County’s new initiative for Peer Certification Workforce Enhancement – $115,000

Safety/Equipment

  • Narcotics Safety Equipment and Analyzers (Department of Corrections and Probation) – $195,750

Remaining funds

The New York Attorney General’s office won over $2.6 billion in various similar settlements that will be allocated to counties across the state over the next 17 years, USA Today reported. The settlements involved distributors and manufacturers like McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, and Amerisource Bergen, as well as drug companies Endo Health Solutions, Janssen and Allergan.

About $14.8 million is going to just seven Hudson Valley counties and communities alone:

  • Yonkers: $383,563
  • Westchester: $4,849,867
  • Ulster: $1,297,278
  • Sullivan: $994,752
  • Rockland: $1,623,216
  • Putnam: $624,087
  • Orange: $2,732,413
  • Dutchess: $2,307,560

About $9 million is going to communities upstate near Rochester and the Finger Lakes.