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TUESDAY, JUN 19, 2018

Co-Chairs of Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction Announce Funding for Jail-Based Services

Funds Secured in Budget Will Help County Jails Provide Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Senators George Amedore, Fred Akshar and Chris Jacobs, co-Chairs of the Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, today announced funding for 17 County jails throughout New York State in order to fund substance use disorder treatment and transition services. The Task Force advocated for, and secured, $3.75 million in the 2018-19 state budget to help implement, support and expand these vital services in County jails throughout the state.

The following County jails, with an Average Daily Population (ADP) of more than 250, will receive $400,000 in funding: 

  • Broome, Erie, Niagara, and Schenectady Counties.

The following County jails, with an Average Daily Population (ADP) of more than 250, will receive $200,000 in funding:

  •  Albany, Suffolk, Nassau, Monroe and Oneida Counties. 

The following County jails, with an Average Daily Population (ADP) of less than 250, will receive $156,000 in funding:

  •  Clinton, Jefferson, Putnam, Ontario, Columbia, Tioga, and Tompkins Counties. 

The following County jail, with an Average Daily Population (ADP) of less than 250, will receive $58,000 in funding:

  •  Wayne 

Senator Fred Akshar said, "Jail-based addiction services are essential to our multi-faceted approach in fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic. Study after study shows that these services substantially reduce recidivism and more effectively help individuals who find themselves incarcerated get back on the right track. By receiving treatment while on the inside, they're put in a vastly better position to stay in recovery and become more productive members of society on the outside. I look forward to seeing the positive outcomes and tangible results achieved through this program as Sheriff Dave Harder in Broome County and Sheriff Gary Howard in Tioga County put these funds to good use in their communities.” 

Senator George Amedore said, “As the Task Force held forums throughout New York State, it became clear that there was a large gap when it came to jail-based services for those that struggle with addiction, despite the proven results of decreasing recidivism and helping get people on the path to recovery. These funds will help implement and support comprehensive treatment programs in county jails throughout the state that will help stop the endless cycle of incarceration, get people the help and services they need, and ultimately, save taxpayer dollars.” 

Senator Chris Jacobs said, “Providing drug treatment services to incarcerated individuals is another example of the Senate’s Heroin Task Force implementing proven and effective methods to help people suffering from addiction get access to treatment as soon as possible. These significant funding announcements and the services they will support will help counties across the state reduce their recidivism rates, decrease operating costs and better transition people into treatment and recovery services upon their release.”

Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, “The funding being announced today is just the latest in a line of successes achieved by the collaborative work of the Senate’s Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction and especially co-Chairs Amedore, Jacobs, and Akshar. Their efforts to achieve record funding for substance abuse prevention and treatment has been extraordinary, and support for these jail-based services will make a lifesaving difference to people who need help in overcoming addiction.”

County jails that offer treatment services have seen significant benefits, including decreased recidivism rates and cost savings. In Albany County, the SHARP (Sheriff’s Heroin Addiction Recovery Program) program has reduced re-incarceration by 28 percent for those who participated in the treatment program.  

Kelly A. Hansen, Executive Director of the NYS Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors, stated, "The County Mental Health Commissioners knew that providing addiction treatment during incarceration could reduce recidivism, save taxpayer dollars and most importantly, save lives. That is why the Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors commissioned the study which provides the data that confirmed our assumptions and quantified the benefits of jail-based SUD services. The Conference is grateful for the support from the Senate and Executive, as counties will be able to develop or expand SUD treatment and transition services prior to re-entry. This funding will not only help to reduce recidivism and improve public safety - most importantly, it will allow individuals struggling with addiction find lasting recovery."

Stephen J. Acquario, NYSAC Executive Director said, “We applaud the State Senate and the Opioid Task Force for making substance use disorder treatments in local jails a priority in the State Budget and Legislative Session. The scourge of opioid addiction and abuse impacts counties in many different ways, including public safety, the criminal justice system, mental health, first responders, and our coroners. This funding for substance use disorder treatment (SUD) services is one more tool that can help protect lives, reduce crime, and save taxpayer money.  This modest investment will increase opportunities for recovery to a critical population struggling with addiction.”

Alex Wilson, Associate Counsel for the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, said  “The New York State Sheriffs’ Association is proud to be a partner with the Senate in the fight against opioids.  While all Sheriffs strive to do as much as possible to help individuals in their custody who are battling addiction—including offering comprehensive addiction treatment and transition services—they are often constrained by limited budgets and scarcity of appropriate mental healthcare providers and substance abuse counselors.  This funding will create the opportunity for Sheriffs to intervene in a profoundly positive way in these individuals lives.  It is our hope that this is the first step towards a more comprehensive program in which all Sheriffs and Counties can take part.”

Senator Phil Boyle said, “According to Department of Health, Suffolk County is number one in the State for heroin deaths.  That is a staggering statistic,” said Senator Phil Boyle, the inaugural Chair of the Heroin Task Force.  “It is also statistically proven that crime and substance abuse go hand in hand.  With the proper programs and the funding to support them, we can go a long way to turn around these daunting statistics and break the trend of repeat offenders and those incarcerated due, fully or in part, to substance abuse.  I applaud my Senate Heroin Task Force colleagues for putting funding where it needs to be and for advocating for real change that will stem the tide of this life altering heroin epidemic.”     

Senator Rich Funke said, “Addiction is an illness, not a crime. Yet, most criminal justice systems take a punitive approach to addiction instead of focusing on treatment options.  While there are consequences for criminal behavior, studies show that jail-based addiction and rehabilitation services give individuals a greater chance of long-term recovery outside of jail, allow them to lead productive lives, and reduce the rate of recidivism. We need to work together to tackle the heroin epidemic, and I am thankful to the strong network of partners in the counties of Ontario and Monroe for their leadership.”

Senator Joe Griffo said, “We should do all that we can to help those who have - or could be at risk for - a substance use disorder, including those individuals who may find themselves in jails across the state. By providing substance use disorder treatment and transition services in our local jails, we offer a better opportunity for those individuals to get help and to potentially save lives. I am hopeful that this funding will benefit those who may find themselves in a harmful situation due to substance use."

Senator Pam Helming said, “As State Senator, I have made it a priority to do all I can to keep our communities safe. Part of that is ensuring those housed in county jails have access to the services they need to one-day lead successful lives in our community. Earlier this year, I met with the county sheriffs and the county mental health directors in my district to understand their growing need for resources to support mental health counseling and addiction treatment inside jails. I am proud to join my colleagues on the Heroin Task Force today to announce this important statewide funding for county jail-based services. This funding will help support deputies and critical staff in Monroe, Ontario, Tompkins and Wayne County jails as they seek to rehabilitate offenders and reintegrate them back into society once they have served out their sentence. Working together, we can reduce recidivism thereby saving the taxpayers money and making our community safer for everyone.”

Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R-Syosset) said, “Increased funding to our Nassau and Suffolk County jails will allow for more comprehensive treatment and transition services for those suffering with substance abuse problems.  While incarcerated, these individuals can receive valuable support that can combat addiction and recidivism.  By proactively attacking the opioid crisis in our jails, we can save lives, reduce crime and expand access to these critical services.”

Senator Kathy Marchione (R-C-I-Reform, Halfmoon) said, “This $156,000 in funding for the Columbia County Jail will help with the provision of jail-based substance use disorder treatment and post-release transition services to address New York’s ongoing heroin and opioid epidemic. I was proud to advocate for this funding as part of the 2018-19 State Budget.”

Senator Terrence Murphy said, "Alcoholism and drug dependency have taken an immeasurable toll on families. By establishing a chemical dependence reinvestment fund, we can focus on expanding community-based services such as treatment, prevention, and education. In turn, these programs will help reduce the incidence of crime, welfare abuse and homelessness that have plagued our communities."

Senator Elaine Phillips said, “The heroin and opioid epidemic continues to ravage communities throughout New York, and especially on Long Island.  As our local jails continue to fill with those struggling from addiction, it is evident that a punitive approach will not work and that jail-based services provide a better path to recovery and reduced recidivism rates.   This important funding will help provide essential treatment programs and services to individuals in the Nassau County correctional system and will undoubtedly assist with their recovery as they reenter our local communities.”

Senator Rob Ortt said, “The heroin and opioid epidemic plaguing our country requires an approach as complex and comprehensive as the challenge itself. Here in New York, we’re continuing to lead the way. With three quarters of inmates dealing with substance abuse issues, the practical solution is to treat these individuals in a controlled environment. I’m proud to work with my partners in the law enforcement and treatment community to provide jail based treatment – a unique approach to encourage recovery and ensure fiscal responsibility.”

Senator Joe Robach said, “It is critically important that New York State continue to take all available actions to fight back against the damage that heroin, and those who deal in death, cause in our community and across the state and nation. This funding announced by the Senate Heroin Task Force for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, and counties across New York, will assist law enforcement in their efforts to fight this in county jails. Along with our commitment to enforcement, prevention, narcan availability, and insurance coverage, this announcement continues the Senate’s pledge to fight the terrible impact of heroin in our communities."

Senator James L. Seward said, “Heroin and opioid addiction devastates lives, families, and communities and it is vital that we continue to target this epidemic from all angles – prevention, treatment, and recovery.  Jail-based treatment programs are a key part of the equation and have the ability to help break the stranglehold these drugs have on individuals so they will be ready to lead healthy lives after they have paid their debt to society.  This state funding will help rebuild individual lives and lead to safer communities.”

Senator Sue Serino said, 'Combatting the heroin and opioid epidemic requires a multi-pronged approach and bolstering effective jail-based services can play a key role when coupled with investments in prevention, treatment, recovery and enforcement. We have been hearing from advocates across the community about the critical role jail-based services can play in ensuring that those struggling with addiction not only get clean, but stay clean after they've served their time, and we know that these serves can play a direct role in reducing recidivism. I am proud to have helped secure the funding necessary to expand and improve upon the services provided here in our local area and I thank the Task Force Chairs for continuing to make this issue a priority."

Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I, REF, Glenville) said, "As a member of the Senate Heroin and Opioid Task Force, I'm pleased to have worked with Senator George Amedore and my Senate Majority colleagues to secure $400,000 for the Schenectady County Jail that will not only enhance public safety for residents in the 49th Senate District by reducing crime caused by the scourge of drug addiction but will also help those who are incarcerated because of an addiction get the help they need to get clean and turn their lives around.”