New York state officials will provide up to $1 million in funding for opioid treatment programs in underserved areas as addiction and overdoses have skyrocketed over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the funding on Friday as part of a broader effort to combat drug addiction. 

"The addiction and overdose crisis is personal to me and my family. Treatment should always be accessible for New Yorkers struggling with addiction," Hochul said. "My administration is fully committed to helping expand and enhance treatment services, and ensure that everyone trapped in a vicious cycle of substance use through no fault of their own, including those in underserved locations, are able to receive the support they need and deserve."

Up to five opioid treatment providers will receive one-time grants of a maximum $200,000 in order to establish additional treatment locations. Funding can be used for building repairs and maintenances, as well as renovations, medical supplies, equipment and furniture. 

"Treatment and other resources offered by opioid treatment programs in New York State are vital in addressing the ongoing overdose crisis and saving lives," Office of Addiction Services And Supports Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said. "Treatment is safe, effective, and life-saving, and with this funding we are helping more people across the state access the care that they need."

New York, like other states around the country, have seen a spike in overdoses and overdose-related deaths coinciding with the pandemic over the last two years. Mental health and addiction experts have raised alarms over the underlying epidemic of drug use during the public health crisis. 

Over the last several years, the state has sought to expand addiction treatment services to include expanded acccess to residential programs, mobile treatment and transportation services. 

"We need to keep expanding access to substance use disorder treatment and break down barriers to safeguard residents, especially those in underserved neighborhoods with unconscionably high opioid overdose rates," said state Sen. Peter Harckham. "This increased funding will begin to make a difference, and I appreciate Gov. Hochul's steadfast leadership and support in this regard."