ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Senator Chuck Schumer announced Monday he plans to include more funding to combat the opioid epidemic in the Capital Region in the next federal budget.
That money would go toward overdose treatment, addiction services and prevention for local addiction treatment centers like the Addictions Care Center of Albany.
“When people come here, their record of ameliorating the problem so the person can go back and live a productive and often happy life is high,” Schumer said. “But, there just aren’t enough resources.”
Addiction Centers are seeing more people seeking help in recent months. Overdoses are reaching record numbers in New York and the problem isn’t just with heroin and prescription opioids. Now, fentanyl is making its way into other drugs – causing more problems for the people who use them.
CEO of ACCA Keith Stack told News10 that on top of that increase in fentanyl, people are still struggling with pandemic isolation and delayed seeking help until now.
“People who would have found their way into treatment under normal circumstances, it took them almost 18 months to two years to find that treatment and just worsened the problem for them,” Stack said.
That funding could also be used to expand prevention education in schools, something Stack said is crucial to stopping addiction before it starts.
“We need to start younger, people are experimenting with substances at a younger age, we need to be even younger teaching them about prevention and reaching the families too,” Stack said.
Activists also said there is a shortage of methadone clinics. Schumer said this funding would allow for clinics to expand, but it’s up to the state to allocate it.
“Some of the money goes to programs like ACCA, but a lot of it goes to the state and the state can then say Schenectady needs a methadone center, we’ll pay for that with this money,” Schumer said.