A Life-Saving Measure: $12M In Opioid Funding To Be Invested In Staten Island Organizations To Support Addiction Treatment And Prevention
Borough President Vito Fossella was on hand as Mayor Eric Adams announced $12 million over the next four years to Staten Island nonprofits that provide treatment and prevention for opioid addiction. The funds were secured by Attorney General Letitia James from settlements reached in her numerous lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors of opioids.
These funds will be directed exclusively to Staten Island organizations that offer a range of intervention services, including treatment, outreach, harm reduction, housing, and employment assistance.
“The words devastation, tragedy and destruction are used very often, but those three words are very apt when it comes to opioids,” said Borough President Fossella during a press conference in Richmond University Medical Center. “We know of parents who say, ‘I am just waiting for that phone to ring at 3 o’clock in the morning because I don’t know if my son is going to make it.’ We all know somebody who has been affected and we all know somebody who has died. Our goals and our jobs are to try to prevent that.”
The numbers are somber: Last year, 3,026 New Yorkers died of a drug overdose, a 12% increase from 2021, with Staten Island accounting for 5% of all overdose deaths citywide and the city’s second highest overdose rate.
Neighborhoods such as Port Richmond, Stapleton, and St. George reported overdose rates far above the citywide average, with the sixth and 13th highest rates in the city.
Borough President Fossella and his fellow elected officials had been stonewalled in past attempts to obtain funding to combat Staten Island’s opioid epidemic “that has disproportionately affected our borough.”
When he brought it to the attention of Attorney General James, she answered “we’re with you.” He credited Mayor Adams and applauded the borough’s healthcare professionals.
“Very often in government when the answer is no, people tend to circle the wagons and say, we’re not doing it no matter how wrong they might be, but Mayor Eric Adams stood up and said let’s take care of Staten Island,” said Borough President Fossella. “To the health care professionals who dedicate their lives saving people here at Richmond University Medical Center and Staten Island University Hospital, we thank you for your devotion to this community."