A coalition of Long Island service agencies has been awarded $5.7 million to support addiction prevention, treatment and recovery programs.
The Long Island Network, made up of 12 human services and behavioral health organizations, received the funds from the federally supported NYS Opioid Response Grant administered by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports.
Two leaders in the coalition, Dr. Jeffrey L. Reynolds, president and chief executive officer of Family and Children’s Association, and Karen Boorstein, president and CEO of Family Service League, say that treatment needs have increased as the Covid-19 epidemic wears on, with statistics show more cases of opioid overdoses.
Addiction problems “have definitely gotten worse,” Boorstein said. “Everyone is being stressed, and so they turn to substance abuse.”
Reynolds said that while opioid overdoses are on the rise, he also believes that experts will also find a big increase in alcohol abuse, with fewer ways to cope with problems. During a crisis, he said, “Some people choose to go out running in the rain, others choose to go back to what they were before” and return to addictive behavior. He said that that some patients lost access to in-patient care as hospitals turned to exclusively treating Covid-19 patients, while others lost in-person access to therapy.
Members of the Long Island Network include Family Service League, Bridge Back to Life Center, Inc., CSEDNY, Central Nassau (CN) Guidance & Counseling Services, Family & Children’s Association (FCA), Hispanic Counseling Center Inc., Mercy Hospital, Northwell Health – Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Outreach Development Corporation, South Shore Child Guidance/EPIC Long Island, and Sun River Health.
“Working together under this unified grant helps our network of Nassau and Suffolk agencies provide a wider selection of services for those most vulnerable,” Boorstein said. “Each of the organizations will be able to increase programs for those struggling with the many challenges associated with addiction. Our goal is to empower people, and their families, throughout the recovery process.”
The Long Island Network is a regional association of the Advanced Health Network and Recovery Health Solutions (AHN-RHS), which consists of 50 NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) and Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) licensed agencies.
“Our unified, coordinated regional approach will harness the use of technology, evidence-based practices, and people with lived experience to increase access to services and care, especially for underserved communities,” Reynolds said. His organization is working with the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office in piloting a pre-arraignment diversion program to keep the addicted out of the court system, and training peers and others to work as counselors and managers of sober houses to provide better services
The $5,745,233 award is part of the up to $50.7 million grant announced on March 10 by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, created to improve addiction services in regions across the state. Each of the regional networks are made up of multiple providers in multiple counties, and all who received funding have identified specific needs with accompanying proposed services to address the gaps in care.
New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help by calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPE line at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369). Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, community residence, or outpatient care can be found using the NYS OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard at FindAddictionTreatment.ny.gov or through the NYS OASAS website.