New Report Sheds Light on Albany’s $200M Investment Against Opioid Crisis

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In 2017, the Governor signed a bill proclaiming a $200 million yearly investment to fight the opioid epidemic plaguing New York.

However, a new investigation by the USA TODAY Network’s Albany Bureau found that rather than doing what it claims – which is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to combat the opioid crisis – the state is simply reallocating preexisting funds from other addiction programs.

In other words, the state is taking money away from other drug treatment services. Public officials have shifted those funds to opioid-specific treatment programs and advertised this practice as an infusion of 200 million new dollars.

Beginning April 1, the state budget included a surcharge on pharmaceutical companies to help fund opioid-combatting programs. With a 135 percent increase of opioid-related deaths in New York within 3 years, many were pleased with this development.

The kicker, though, is that the surcharge will not actually bring an additional $100 million to fighting the crisis, USA Today reports.

Rather than raising state spending for opioid addiction prevention and treatment to $300 million per year, this $100 million will largely replace current state spending. The fund may increase, but certainly not by the expected $100 million, says USA Today.

As a result, other addiction services are left shorthanded and existing government funds are merely swapped for pharmaceutical company taxes.