After a delay, the New York Opioid Settlement Fund Advisory Board, which is tasked with making recommendations on how New York state should spend nearly $1.5 billion in funds from opioid manufacturers, finally met last week.
Avi Israel, a board member and founder of Save the Michaels of the World, told Capital Tonight that the delay in meeting was “disrespectful” to board members, loved ones of those who died and victims of the opioid epidemic.
Israel said that he would like to see more effort and concern from the Hochul administration and the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, and argues there isn’t a sense of “urgency” on the issue.
In a statement provided to Capital Tonight, a spokesperson for Gov. Hochul’s office said the governor “remains steadfast in her commitment to addressing addiction and the overdose crisis, making historic investments to enhance and expand prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction services. To ensure that these dollars will be most effective in serving those in need and saving lives, she continues to promote engagement among state agencies, providers, advocates, field experts, and other stakeholders. As someone who has lost a loved one to the opioid crisis, the Governor has pledged to help remove barriers and ensure access for New Yorkers seeking help—no matter where they may be in the recovery process.”
On where the funds should go, Israel said that resources should be used to expand access to treatment, help for people to recover like transportation to programs, and prevention efforts. Israel argues that this help is needed in rural areas where there might be fewer opportunities for treatment.