Immediate Action: $1 Million announced for School-Based Prevention Project in conjunction with The Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo to Support K-12 Prevention Curriculum for Staten Island Schools and Identify At-Risk Students
Borough President Oddo first announced the initiative last year to take a comprehensive look at the opioid crisis on Staten Island and to identify the most critical measures for attention. If those key data points are monitored and reported, it would help the borough assess progress, identify priorities, and align local response efforts.
“The primary objective of our data strategy initiative is to accelerate the borough’s response to the opioid epidemic, by rallying all of the important work being done on the frontlines around a set of clear, quantifiable priorities,” said Borough President Oddo. “Thanks to the active participation and important contributions of Staten Islanders, local partners, and our colleagues in government, we took a step closer to achieving that goal by identifying the ‘north star’ measures that should guide future efforts. Now we turn our attention to making this blueprint a reality. Like everything we do to push back against this epidemic, which is still devastating communities across the borough, it will be an aggressive, all-hands-on-deck approach.”
The report released today, entitled North Star Measures for Tracking the Opioid Epidemic and Accelerating the Response on Staten Island is a product of an extensive public engagement campaign. Over the course of two 30-day public comment periods, Borough President Oddo called for public input and received over 100 responses with recommendations across six areas: Surveillance, Prevention, Reversal, Treatment, Diversion, and Recovery. The contributions by residents across the borough and their feedback to the first draft of the report were invaluable in developing an opioid data strategy tailored to Staten Island.
Additionally, Borough President Oddo worked closely with Governor Andrew Cuomo to take immediate action on the report’s recommendations, working to pilot an initial operational response to the release of the report. Today, The Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo and Borough President Oddo are announcing the following:
School-Based Prevention Task Force
New York State is contributing $1 million to implement recommendations made by a Prevention Education Task Force convened in fall 2018 by Governor Cuomo and Borough President Oddo. The Task Force consists of educators, parents and students, coaches, principals, clinical experts, state and local government officials, and union members. This Task Force developed recommendations for standard prevention education activities to be implemented in all K-12 public and private schools on Staten Island. This curriculum coincides with the “north star” measures.
The prevention curriculum focuses on opioid prevention, resilience, and coping skills. Moving forward, the Task Force will also create standard protocols and tools for identifying students at risk of addiction and refer students and families to appropriate programs and services.
Empire State Opioid Epidemic Innovation Challenge Winners Presentation
On January 31 the winners of the “Empire State Opioid Epidemic Innovation Challenge” will present their winning ideas at Columbia University. Governor Cuomo and Borough President Oddo launched the challenge to generate innovative responses to the opioid epidemic, of which will be used to compliment the “north star” measures. New York State invested $250,000 for the Innovation Challenge, and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul delivered a keynote address at the event in September.
Northwell Health also invested $50,000 for the innovative challenge
Opioid Data Working Group
The Borough President’s Office also assembled an Opioid Data Working Group of nationally renowned experts from CUNY College of Staten Island, New York University, Northwell Health, and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The panel spent months reviewing the public input, available data, and best practices across the country to propose the “north star” measures to guide the response to the opioid epidemic. The Opioid Data Working Group consisted of:
● Chinazo O. Cunningham, M.D., M.S.: Professor and Associate Chief of General Internal Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine
● Anthony C. Ferreri, DBA: CEO of Staten Island University Hospital from 2003 to 2014 and Senior Advisor to the Borough President at the start of this initiative
● Marc N. Gourevitch, MD, MPH: Professor and Chair of the Department of Population Health at the NYU School of Medicine
● Jonathan Morgenstern, PhD: Assistant Vice President for Addiction Services at Northwell Health and Professor of Psychiatry at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
● Nora Santiago, Urban Policy Analyst/GIS Specialist at CUNY College of Staten Island
The Opioid Data Working Group consulted extensively with the Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), Office of the District Attorney Richmond County, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), Staten Island Performing Provider System (PPS), Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness (SIPCW), Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH), Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC), the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and many of the borough’s treatment providers in conducting their work. They worked closely with Northwell Health on ensuring that both the clinical and non-clinical needs of the Staten Island community impacted by the opioid crisis would be addressed. The Working Group received invaluable support and technical assistance from the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“As the opioid epidemic rages on, it is imperative that we respond decisively with actions that make the most impact. I can think of few things that matter more than working to inoculate future generations, at the most critical stages of their development, from this public health crisis,” said Borough President Oddo. “Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership and partnership, we can now deliver vital prevention education to Staten Island students.
In 2017, 101 Staten Island residents died of a drug overdose—a reduction of approximately 15 percent over the previous year. The rate of overdose deaths proportionate to the borough’s population however—27.3 per 100,000—is still among the worst in New York State. Moreover, the preliminary data released by District Attorney McMahon’s office demonstrates that progress to further reduce overdose deaths stalled last year.
"New York State is leading the fight against the devastating opioid crisis and we are proud to be advancing innovative approaches in Staten Island to protect our communities and save lives,” Governor Cuomo said. "Working with the Borough President and Staten Island leaders, we are building on the progress we have already achieved and working towards a model strategy to combat the opioid epidemic. With this comprehensive approach, we are giving more people in Staten Island the opportunity to access the services they need and setting an example for other communities across the country.”
"Like so many New Yorkers, my family has felt the pain caused by the heroin and opioid epidemic that continues to take lives on Staten Island and across our state," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Fighting back requires creative solutions to prevent addiction and save lives. New York State is proud to work with Borough President Oddo to deliver resources to educate young people about the danger of opioids and bring hope to all who are struggling with addiction."
OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, “Staten Island’s data-driven strategy is helping to establish real solutions when it comes to fighting the opioid crisis. We are pleased to partner with Staten Island leaders, community members, and others to implement these steps, and help more people access the treatment and other services that they need. OASAS looks forward to further collaboration in support of our mutual goal of ensuring that recovery for everyone suffering from this disease is possible.”
“The opioid overdose epidemic has touched the lives of all Staten Island residents,” said NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Under Borough President Oddo’s leadership, the Opioid Data Working Group's data-driven plan will compliment HealingNYC, the overall New York City opioid plan. We are looking forward to continuing to work together to support this important work."
“There is no question Staten Island remains in the throes of a drug crisis of epidemic proportions,” said District Attorney Michael E. McMahon. “The men and women of my office in conjunction with the NYPD, work day in and day out to root out drug dealers, aid those battling addiction illness, and prevent our young people from falling into the pitfalls of substance abuse. However we cannot beat this crisis alone, and Staten Island is blessed to have an unbelievable array of partners working to beat back this epidemic from all angles. I am confident that through our continued efforts and the implementation of the ”North Star” measures in this Report, we will be able to more effectively work together to truly turn our home from Heroin Island to HOPE Island. Thank you to Borough President Oddo for your continued leadership in this fight.”
“The opioid crisis touches everyone,” said Michael J. Dowling, President and CEO of Northwell Health. “It impacts families, schools, businesses, the criminal justice system, health care workers and emergency responders. Each of these populations brings an important perspective of how the crisis has impacted them and how we might solve it. By working together and taking a holistic approach, we can better tackle a problem that affects us all.”
“Staten Island’s data strategy is a model for communities across the United States seeking to focus their efforts for success against the opioid epidemic,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Under Borough President Oddo’s leadership, community leaders, healthcare providers, citizens, and the Opioid Data Working Group came together to develop a common set of measures that will align many efforts in Staten Island.”