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Yates County, New York, Is Continuing To Suffer From The Ongoing Opioid Epidemic, With The Second Highest Rate Of Opioid Overdoses Per Capita In The Rochester-Finger Lakes Region 

Standing At The Finger Lakes Area Counseling & Recovery Agency, Schumer Today Continued His Efforts To Ensure That The Battle Against Opioids Is Fully Funded                 

Schumer: We Need All Hands On Deck To Fight Back Against The Opioid Scourge In Yates County                               

Standing at the Finger Lakes Area Counseling & Recovery Agency (FLACRA), in Penn Yan, New York, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today launched his efforts to lock down $3.3 billion in federal funding in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill to combat the ongoing opioid crisis. Schumer explained that Yates County has been hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic, and that Yates is the second most severely-impacted county per capita in the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region.

“FLACRA is on the front lines in the battle against opioids, and I’m honored to stand with men and women who work every day to ensure counseling, education, and treatment services are available 24/7 for Yates County residents,” said Senator Schumer. “Yates County has been battered by the opioid epidemic for far too long, and our efforts to keep families and communities healthy must be unrelenting. Just as I helped secure funding for Yates County in last year’s major funding bill, I vow to continue fighting for more funding to combat the opioid scourge in next year’s budget bill.”

Schumer explained that FLACRA provides opioid counseling, education, and treatment to residents of the Rochester-Finger Lakes region from its Penn Yan center and through the use of a mobile van unit. Schumer was given a demonstration of the services that FLACRA provides through the use of this van, and how it helps combat the opioid scourge at the ground level. Schumer said that recently, FLACRA was awarded $1.4 million in federal funding through Opioid State Targeted Response (STR) grants to help efforts in Yates and Ontario Counties, and that some of the funding will be used to purchase a new, larger mobile RV unit. Schumer explained that in rural areas, these mobile treatment and prevention units are essential in the ongoing fight against opioids, as they remove barriers to getting people effective treatment.

Schumer explained that thanks to an increase in funding he pushed for to combat the opioid crisis, New York State received an additional $25.2 million in federal STR funding, of which $1.4 million was awarded to FLACRA to combat the opioid epidemic in Yates and Ontario Counties. The $1.4 million will also allow the agency to purchase a new, larger mobile RV unit to provide outreach, education, and rehabilitation services to more members of the local community. The funding is also enabling FLACRA to provide more extensive outreach in its rural service area in Yates County, work it had been limited in providing until this funding became available. Additional, the funding is being used to expand medication-assisted therapies, telemedicine, and jail-based rehabilitative services to address the revolving door of addiction, as well as help create a team of peer specialists who will be deployed out in the community to help people in crisis from the opioid epidemic. Schumer worked tirelessly to secure $3.3 billion in federal funding to combat the opioid crisis in the FY2018 omnibus spending bill, and doubled down on his efforts to secure a matching amount in the upcoming FY2019 appropriations bill.

Martin Teller, Executive Director of Finger Lakes Area Counseling & Recovery Agency (FLACRA) said, “Senator Schumer’s push to provide additional federal funding to address the opioid crisis is already bolstering our work in Yates County. FLACRA is putting the $1.4 million in federal State Targeting Response grant we received into action by ramping up outreach with new mobile treatment van service, more medication-assisted therapies, telemedicine, and creation of a team of peer specialists deployed into the community to help people suffering from the opioid crisis.  Yates has been hit particularly hard by this opioid crisis and its rural nature means we need additional resources to reach those in need which is why Senator Schumer’s push to secure billions more in the upcoming federal budget is so critical.”   

In the first six months of 2018, there have been 15 opioid overdoses in Yates County, with three fatalities. Over the course of the last three years, Yates County has averaged three opioid overdoses per month. In addition to heroin and prescription painkillers, Yates County has been stricken by the potent and devastating fentanyl as well. Over the course of the past two years, at least four people in Yates County have been arrested and accused of selling fentanyl, which can be 100 times more deadly than heroin. Schumer said that these statistics plainly illustrate the need to keep fighting the opioid scourge at the ground level, and that securing more federal funding to do so is absolutely necessary.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report shows that in 2016, the rate of drug overdose deaths across the country was 21 percent higher than the rate in 2015. In upstate New York, overdose deaths skyrocketed by 23 percent last year, with a total of 1,392 opioid overdose deaths in 2016. According to the New York State Department of Health, there were 172 opioid-related deaths in the Rochester-Finger Lakes region in 2016, compared to 119 opioid-related deaths in 2015—an increase of 53.