Press Statements

VOCAL-NY Applauds New Funding for Harm Reduction Services From Opioid Settlement Fund

October 5, 2021


Tuesday, October 5, 2021


Jasmine Budnella,

Mariah McGough,


Attorney General Letitia James’ Held a Press Conference Today in Albany as a Part of her HealNY Tour

ALBANY, N.Y. — Today, VOCAL-NY leaders stood alongside Attorney General Letitia James during a press conference in Albany to unveil $1.5 billion of funding to the state, including between nearly $18 and $32 million for the Capital Region to help end preventable overdoses.

“The extreme overdose crisis we’re in now — with over 5,100 of our loved ones dying just last year — is a result of Cuomo starving and underfunding harm reduction and evidence-based programs,” said Jasmine Budnella, Drug Policy Director with VOCAL-NY.“Year after year, we were told there was no money for the solutions that we’ve long known would save lives while overdoses continued to rise. Thanks to Attorney General James’ relentless leadership, we can put that fallacy to bed and finally build the harm reduction infrastructure and invest in lifesaving programs for low-income New Yorkers. And we hope to see similar leadership from Governor Hochul to continue to reverse the Cuomo administration’s wrongs.”

“I can say with confidence, if it were not for harm reduction and medication-assisted treatment, I would not be here to see today’s progress,” said Luke Grandis, Upstate Lead Organizer with VOCAL-NY, who spoke at today’s press conference. “With a New Yorker dying every hour and 48 minutes, we urge Governor Hochul to sign the Overdose Prevention Package – but we can’t stop there. Attorney General James’ leadership securing over a billion dollars is a critical victory, so now our state can finally fund and scale-up harm reduction and evidence-based programs for Black, Brown and low-income communities that have been historically left behind.”


Tuesday’s press conference is part of a statewide tour by Attorney General Letitia James after securing $1.5 billion in funding from lawsuits against opioid manufacturers — funding that AG James now intends to use towards ending preventable overdoses. For more information about the funding and tour across New York, click here.

Find additional steps New York State can take to end preventable overdoses here.


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