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$300,000 in federal funding helps WNY address opioid epidemic

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Posted at 11:43 AM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-27 11:43:29-04

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced that $300,000 in federal funding is headed for Erie County's Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site Program.

The funding was allocated by the Department of Justice's Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act program.  The funding will be used to support the County's ongoing overdose prevention and drug treatment programs.

"Erie County had more treatment admissions for prescription painkillers than any other county in New York State in 2014, and opioid-related deaths increased by 300 percent the following year. The opioid and heroin abuse crisis in the Western New York region is a symptom of this national emergency, and we need to fight back now. With this vital funding Erie County can start the hard work of prevention and treatment, and give law enforcement the tools needed to turn the tide against this scourge," said Senator Schumer. "I am proud to announce this funding and will continue to work to help ensure that Upstate New York communities have the resources they need to make a difference in this fight."

The Senators explained in the United States, drug overdose deaths have exceeded car crashes as the number one cause of injury death. 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose and over 2 million adolescents, ages 12-17, reported using prescription opioids recreationally in their lifetime. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids—a class of drugs that include prescription pain medications and heroin—were involved in more than 33,000 deaths nationwide in 2015.

Schumer and Gillibrand along with their Democratic colleagues worked to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, which Schumer and Gillibrand said is a critical step in beating back the opioid addiction trend. Schumer and Gillibrand explained that the bill:

·         Expands the availability of naloxone – which can counter the effects of a heroin or opioid painkiller overdose – to law enforcement agencies and other first responders;

·         Improves prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion "and to help at-risk individuals access services;"

·         Shifts resources towards identifying and treating incarcerated people who are suffering from addiction, rather than just punishment as is often the case currently; and

·         Expands disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to help keep them out of the hands of our children and adolescents

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA) was established to comprehensively fight the opioid epidemic through enhanced grant programs that expand prevention and education efforts while also promoting treatment and recovery. The purpose of these programs is to provide financial and technical assistance to states and units of local governments to expand outreach, treatment and recovery efforts to individuals impacted by the opioid epidemic