December 7, 2022
CONTACT: Jasmine Budnella, email@example.com
Mariah McGough, firstname.lastname@example.org
VOCAL-NY CONDEMNS GOV. HOCHUL’S DECISION NOT TO INVEST OPIOID SETTLEMENT FUNDS IN OVERDOSE PREVENTION CENTERS AMID A SURGING OVERDOSE CRISIS
NEW YORK — Yesterday, news broke that Governor Hochul rejected the recommendation by the Opioid Settlement Funds Advisory Board to fund and expand Overdose Prevention Centers (OPCs). In response, VOCAL-NY released the following statement, attributable to Marilyn Reyes, a leader in the Users Union who responds to overdose every day in the community:
“I have lost faith and trust in Governor Hochul’s ability to lead our state out of this unrelenting and surging overdose crisis. I respond to overdoses every day, and I see what this overdose crisis is doing to our communities. We are full of grief and extraordinary anger — we are not political bargaining chips. This decision will only bring more funerals and deaths.
Instead of being a leader on this issue, aligning with other states like Rhode Island that have pushed forward funding evidence-based solutions, Governor Hochul is playing the same card as her predecessor. We can’t afford to have another state leader blocking these lifesaving centers and ignoring our demands. Governor Hochul has chosen to stand in the way instead of lead the way, and unless she changes course, these deaths will be on her hands.”
There are billions of dollars available to New York State from the Opioid Settlement Funds secured by the Attorney General. Just this month, the Opioid Settlement Board, which is responsible for recommending how these funds will be spent, recommended funding to be spent on expanding OPCs. States like Rhode Island, have already committed to using opioid settlement money to fund Overdose Prevention Centers.
New York City is home to the nation’s first sanctioned two Overdose Prevention Centers – which have been open for just over a year and have intervened in more than 630 overdoses. While New York may have these two programs operating, New Yorkers have been fighting for funding and to expand these centers across the entire state. By rejecting the Opioid Settlement Board’s recommendation to invest funds in OPCs, Governor Hochul is actively sabotaging life-saving programs from helping more New Yorkers.