What to Know
- New York City will expand the citywide plan to combat the opioid epidemic thanks to an annual investment
- Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray announced Monday a $22 million annual investment to grow the HealingNYC program
- The investment will create peer intervention programs at more hospitals across the city and increase naloxone distribution and teaching
New York City will expand the citywide plan to combat the opioid epidemic thanks to an annual investment.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray announced Monday a $22 million annual investment that will help grow the HealingNYC program.
With this new investment, the city will spend a total of $60 million annually to reduce opioid overdose deaths, according to city officials.
The new investment will create peer intervention programs at more hospitals across the city, as well as increase naloxone distribution and training on how to use the lifesaving drug. It will also connect more New Yorkers struggling with substance misuse to treatment, according to city officials.
“The opioid epidemic has destroyed lives and hurt families across the country. In New York City, we are harnessing every tool to stop this deadly surge in its track,” de Blasio said in a statement, adding that the “new investment will help to save more lives and connect those struggling with addiction to treatment.”
City officials say that more New Yorkers have died from drug overdoses in 2016 than suicides, homicides and vehicular crashes combined. HealingNYC was launched in March 2017 to reverse the increase in overdose deaths.
Though the 2017 opioid overdose data is still provisional, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is seeing a flattening in the overdose death rate compared to 2016, the city says, allowing for the prediction that expanding HealingNYC could help save as many as 400 lives by 2022.
“Addiction is a chronic disease, and people suffering from any disease need our help and support, not our judgment or punishment,” McCray, who leads the city’s mental health and substance misuse efforts, said in a statement, adding that the city is “working hard to change the way people think about addiction and mental illness, establish prevention protocols, and create a culture of healing and wellness.”
The additional $22 million annual investment will implement strategies to combat the opioid epidemic. These strategies include expanding emergency department peer-based interventions in hospitals, expanding inpatient hospital interventions and launching the “Leave Behind” naloxone program that will distribute 5,000 naloxone kits annually to homes the FDNY visits in response to overdose calls.
The added funds will also establish the End Overdose Training Institute to teach 25,000 New Yorkers annually how to administer and distribute naloxone, expand the HOPE program that diverts people arrested on low-level drug offenses into treatment and expand the city’s crisis response services which respond to overdose calls and connect New Yorkers to care.
The new funding will start in the 2019 fiscal year.