The commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) came to Buffalo Tuesday to announce new funding for addiction treatment services in Western New York.
Commissionre Arlene González-Sánchez's first stop was at Horizon Health Service Terrace House on Elm Street in Buffalo.
"Today we're here to announce that Horizon will be getting a million dollars to operate 25 new treatment beds in Niagara County," she said.
Those beds, when opened, will help push Horizon's expansion from just 50 beds two years ago to nearly 200. Horizon will be opening another new center next month that will make an additional 25 beds available.
"That's what our community needed, access to treatment," said Horizon Health president and CEO Anne Constantino, who thanked elected officials for making the money available.
"Honestly, for those of us on the front lines, including the families, it felt like we were in a war without weapons. We just did not have enough. We were getting beaten badly. Once somebody becomes addicted, treatment is the best weapon we have."
The Buffalo center, to be located on Linwood Avenue, is one of numerous such centers statewide to which Albany is providing funding.
The state's announcements come one day after the Erie County Opioid Epidemic Task Force announced the formal start of its three-part strategy to tackle the opioid addiction crisis. As of late July, nearly 225 deaths in Erie County were blamed on confirmed or suspected opioid overdoses.