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Opioid Settlement Fund Advisory Board sends recommendations to NYS

The board has recommended how to spend more than $128M in settlement funds.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Tuesday, November 1 was the deadline for the Opioid Settlement Fund Advisory Board to get its recommendation to the state on how to use more than $128 million in settlement funds.

The board delivered its proposal on Monday.

Avi Israel from Save the Michaels of the World is on the board and says it recommended 22% of that money be used for harm reduction to directly save lives. 

Twelve percent would go to treatment services and 16% would be allocated to get people into the workforce to help with addiction services. Transportation would get more than six million dollars. Those are just some of the categories the board is recommending to get funding. 

This all comes on the same day the state comptroller issued a report revealing opioid overdoses went up by 68% in New York State from 2019 to 2021.

"I personally feel because of the report that came out today from the state comptroller, that the way our state is going downhill when it comes to overdose deaths, I would strongly urge the legislators and the Governor to accept our recommendation and for one reason only. We are the ones in the field. We face people who need help. People who are in distress every single day," said Avi Israel, from Save the Michaels of the World.

Here's the timeline going forward. State agencies and legislators now have 14 days to look over the recommendations and propose any changes before the plan heads back to the advisory board. The advisory board will have 14 days to vote on it again and decide whether everyone involved has come to an agreement.

"I urge the Governor and the legislators to really take our recommendations seriously and adapt them and use them. We are the ones on the ground. We face it every single day. We are not a government agency. Bureaucracy stops people from getting into treatment. We're trying to eliminate that," said Avi Israel.

Ultimately, Israel says the Governor would have to sign off on the final plan. We should know more in about a month.

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