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Broome County distributes second round of opioid settlement funds

Phoebe Taylor-Vuolo
This is the second round of funding the county has distributed since it began receiving payouts from settlements with pharmaceutical companies.

Broome County will distribute over $402,000 in opioid settlement funds to local programs to reduce overdoses and support people dealing with addiction.

The funds come from legal settlements with pharmaceutical companies that played a role in the opioid epidemic. This is the second round of funding the county has distributed since it began receiving payouts from the legal settlements.

"One of the things that I've committed to, and the legislature's committed to, is that every penny of this money is to go directly to the organizations and the agencies directly fighting this epidemic," Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said.

Broome County Overdose Prevention Coordinator Marissa Knapp said the county tried to focus on supporting a wide variety of initiatives with the settlement funds.

“We really have to meet people where they're at. And I think that looks like meeting people where they're at in a correctional facility, meeting people where they're at who might still be using drugs every day, meeting people who are in treatment,” Knapp said.

Each organization will receive over $100,000.

Family and Children’s Counseling Services will use its funds for low-barrier medication treatment for people with opioid use disorder.

“The program emphasizes the significance of accessible and flexible treatment options for individuals facing addiction,” Georgia said. “The goal is to accommodate individuals’ unique circumstances and encourage their engagement in the recovery process using a harm reduction model.”

Local addiction treatment provider Helio Health will use its opioid settlement funds to hire a new peer specialist to work on its Binghamton team.

The Southern Tier AIDS Program will also receive funds to continue a partnership with the Broome County Correctional Facility, offering services and support to residents after they are released from the jail.

The county also announced that reported overdose deaths dropped by 22% from 2022 to 2023. Sixty-four people died of a suspected overdose last year, compared to 80 in 2022.

"Additionally, we saw a decrease in suspected non-fatal overdoses from 460 in 2022 to 351 in 2023," Knapp said. "While this is a decrease, we still have a great deal of work to still do. And I'm confident by funding projects supported by these organizations, we're headed in the right direction."