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Focused on treatment, prevention, recovery, harm reduction services and other critical resources Westchester County Executive George Latimer and the Department of Community Mental Health has distributed over $4.1 million dollars to local organizations to take the opioid and overdose crisis head-on.  

Latimer said: “This funding is a crucial step in our ongoing battle against addiction and the opioid crisis. By supporting local organizations dedicated to treatment, prevention, recovery, and harm reduction, we are making a tangible difference in the lives of those affected by this epidemic."

Of the $4,118.841 being distributed:

  • Treatment
    • Lexington Center for Recovery, Inc. - $395,237
    • Family Services of Westchester - $330,278
    • Westchester Jewish Community Services - $234,988
    • John’s Riverside Hospital - $380,000
    • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) County Corrections - $1,268,280
  • Prevention
    • Partnership to End Addiction - $600,000
  • Recovery
    • Family Services of Westchester - $176,434
  • Harm Reduction
    • Urban League of Westchester County, Inc. - $249,458
    • Cornerstone Family Healthcare - $173,416
  • Training
    • Lives Forward, Westchester County’s new initiative for Peer Certification Workforce Enhancement - $115,000
  • Safety/Equipment
    • Narcotics Safety Equipment and Analyzers (Department of Corrections and Probation) - $195,750

The $4.1 million dollars is the result of a 2019 suit brought by New York State Attorney General Letitia James against several drug distributers and manufacturers across the state. A total of $5.8 million dollars was awarded to the County through New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (NYS OASAS) Regional Opioid Abatement Funding to address overdose deaths in Westchester. The 4,118,841 funds are first round of allocation, additional Request for Proposals will be released shortly to address other identified needs by the Westchester County ORI planning committee.

In February of 2022, in response to the rise of overdose deaths across Westchester County, Latimer launched the Opioid Response and Overdose Prevention Initiative (ORI). ORI brought together the Departments of Community Mental Health, Social Services, Public Safety, Health, Corrections Probation, Youth Bureau, the Medical Examiner’s office and the District Attorney’s Office to address the issue.

The ORI committee meets regularly to:

  • Execute effective harm reduction strategies such as distribution of Naloxone or “Narcan,” a vital tool for preventing fatalities in people at a high risk for drug overdoses
  • Conduct more thorough data collection, analysis and transparency relating to overdoses
  • Increase community prevention, education, outreach and support services.
  • Increase access to addiction, mental health and co-occurring treatment, harm reduction and family support services, including substance use prevention services
  • Identify and implement evidence-based treatment approaches for individuals with addiction who are also struggling with co-occurring mental health needs

The ORI issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) soliciting local community organizations to submit proposals for use of the settlement funds in the categories of prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery.  Additional needs were identified in safety equipment.

Westchester County Commissioner of the Department of Community Mental Health Michael Orth said: “I want to thank County Executive Latimer and the members of the ORI Committee for their hard work and dedication to making this possible. While there are many programs working to help people, we were able to allocate a substantial amount of money to groups that are standing at the forefront of this. Every day we learn about the horrors of Fentanyl and other drugs that find their way into our society and the dangers they post to even come in contact with them.  The ORI committee will continue to work with the community to develop ideas to help people and keep them safe.”

Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, said: “I am proud to join with County Executive Latimer and the ORI Committee on this initiative to help fight the opioid crisis. By sharing this funding with our partner agencies, we can help even more Westchester residents prevent opioid addictions, and offer more treatment and harm reduction solutions for residents and families who still struggle with substance misuse and mental health issues.”

The Harris Project Founder and CEO Stephanie Marquesano said: “Ten years after the death of my 19-year-old son Harris by accidental overdose, I remain steadfast in my belief that Westchester County is leading the way for the nation in addressing co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Through this funding, Westchester County is investing in best practices and innovation that not only honors the memory of lives lost too soon, but also paves the way for first-of-its-kind Co-Occurring Disorders Awareness curriculum, enhanced early intervention opportunities, increased access to evidence-based treatment protocols, and impactful system change. It was significant to stand with the County Executive when Westchester County filed suit against the opioid manufacturers, and I am grateful to see the strategic utilization of these funds by the Department of Community Mental Health and Opioid Response Initiative Committee.”