6.19.18 - 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. In addition, Wayne County will receive $58,000 in funding.

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.”  ###