Earlier today at the Convention Center in Albany, Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado was the keynote speaker at the fourteenth annual Stand Up For Recovery Day. This was the first in-person Albany lobbying and advocacy day that Friends Of Recovery – New York have hosted since the pandemic.
Stand Up For Recovery Day brings together addiction survivors, allies and recovery advocates from around the state meet with legislators and decision-makers about the recovery movement, and advocate for the resources to make sobriety possible.
After the audience members heard from the FOR – NY board members, Delgado highlighted the investments in the 2024 FY budget for addiction recovery services. Among other resources, there will be a $3.5 million expansion for the Community Health Access to Addiction and Mental Healthcare Project which partners with community-based organizations to “educate and assist New Yorkers in maximizing insurance coverage for substance use and mental health,” according to the governor’s budget book.
“I’m looking for change,” says 54-year-old recovered cocaine user Mayra Leon. “We vote people into these positions and then once they’re there, they don’t do what they promised us. I do feel like we are on the right path, but these legislators need to put more money into funding recovery. There is still so much overdose. I work at Target and sometimes I go into the bathroom just to make sure all these teenagers are okay.”
On Jan. 13, The New York City Health Department released new provisional data on drug overdoses which reported 2,686 deaths due to overdose in 2021, a 78 percent increase since the year prior.
“There’s no question that the war on drugs has failed,” says the Assembly Chair for the Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Phil Steck, D-Loudonville. “But I think this governor is extremely well intentioned. I think that there needs to be substantial changes in the system, and how we deal with the combination of mental health and substance abuse before we’re going to make a lot of headway. To say we’re going to have more beds and mental health units doesn’t really address the problem.”