Activists urge Hochul to create board to allocate opioid settlement money into recovery programs

Activists are urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to make sure crucial funding in the state's budget goes to helping fix the deadly opioid epidemic.

News 12 Staff

Mar 23, 2022, 2:42 AM

Updated 764 days ago

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Activists are urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to make sure crucial funding in the state's budget goes to helping fix the deadly opioid epidemic.
Linda Ventura, founder of the Thomas' Hope Foundation, was among the activists who successfully got a law passed last year that all funds collected from opioid court settlements could only be used for certain things, including prevention, treatment and education of opioid addiction
However, Ventura is concerned that the board that's supposed to oversee the spending of that money has not yet been set up.
“This year, we wrote that letter because $265 million has been introduced to the New York State budget without the board. There are 21 members that were supposed to be appointed to this board that oversees how this money is going to be spent,” Ventura says.
The worry is that this money will be put into the budget and used in the wrong places with the lack of oversight and review that could be provided by the proposed Opioid Settlement Board.
The hope is that, by asking people like Lauren McNamara, cofounder of New Hope Rising and someone who works in the field every day, to be in the board, the money can be allocated to the right spots to help the right people.
Ventura and McNamara say it's time to fix a broken system and to show what even the smallest amount of money can do to help those in need.
“I think really this is just again an opportunity for recovery housing to receive the support that it has needed for a very long time,” McNamara says.


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