Addiction reaches into every community throughout New York State, and local efforts to address the opioid crisis include prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.
The allocation of $3.75 million in the 2018-19 state budget for 17 county jails to develop and implement substance use disorder treatment and transition services is a substantial commitment to combating this epidemic. The new funding will be crucial in battling the heroin and opioid crisis in New York’s counties.
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.”
An example of the success for these programs can be found in the Albany County Sheriff’s Heroin Addiction Recovery Program (SHARP), which has reduced re-incarceration by 28 percent for those who participated in the treatment program.
Funding ranges from $58,000 to $400,000 based on the Average Daily Population (ADP) of county jails in Albany, Broome, Clinton, Columbia, Erie, Jefferson, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Ontario, Putnam, Schenectady, Suffolk, Tioga, Tompkins, and Wayne counties.
“When you’ve got people in jail begging you for more treatment you need to seize that opportunity,” said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.
Allocating these funds is a step in the right direction going forward to potentially establish permanent programs in county jails. Jail treatment programs expand access to resources and meet the needs of our communities in an impactful environment.
“This funding for substance use disorder treatment services is one more tool that can help protect lives, reduce crime, and save taxpayer money,” said Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties. “This modest investment will increase opportunities for recovery to a critical population struggling with addiction.”