COMMISSIONER ARLENE GONZÁLEZ-SANCHEZ  

                                                                                                                                       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
July 21, 2016


$250,000 for substance use disorder peer engagement and family support services in Onondaga County

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (NYS OASAS) today marked the launch of two new programs to expand access to substance use disorder treatment services and family supports in Central New York. In April, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo awarded $150,000 to the Onondaga County Department of Adult & Long Term Care Services to support substance use disorder peer engagement and support services and $100,000 to Prevention Network/Onondaga Council on Alcoholism Addictions, Inc. in Syracuse to support a family support navigator initiative. Today, staff have been hired and services are being delivered to those in need. The initiatives were developed by NYS OASAS. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and NYS OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez joined County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney to mark the start of these services at a press conference at Prevention Network in Syracuse today.


“What statistics cannot show is the human toll of the addiction epidemic -- ripping apart lives and families and shattering dreams – which we saw as part of Governor Cuomo’s Task Force to Combat Heroin and Opioid Abuse," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “In highlighting these two programs now in operation thanks to State support, we take another step forward helping dozens of individuals find treatment and hundreds of families assist loves ones through recovery each year.”


The supports were first unveiled during Governor Cuomo’s Capital for a Day events last fall. They are the latest addition to the Governor’s multi-pronged approach to aggressively address substance use disorders in New York State.


“Onondaga County has taken the lead with getting these new supports for New York families who are struggling with substance abuse off to a great start,” said NYS OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “Today, with Governor Cuomo’s leadership, and Lieutenant Governor Hochul’s dedication to combating the opioid public health crisis, we are improving access to substance use disorder care. More New Yorkers will be able to engage in treatment and begin their journey toward recovery.”  


The peer engagement specialist, who is knowledgeable about the alcohol and substance use disorder treatment system, will work with hospital Emergency Department personnel to help establish connections to treatment and other supports after an opioid overdose reversal or after discharge from another substance use-related ED visit. This connection to treatment after an opioid overdose reversal is crucial to a person’s start on the path to recovery, and can help prevent relapse and a potential overdose reoccurrence. The family support navigator will develop relationships with local substance use prevention, treatment and recovery services, managed care organizations, area substance use disorder councils and community stakeholders to assist families with accessing area treatment and support services.


Onondaga County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney said, “Thank you to Governor Cuomo and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services for funding these two new programs that will help connect New Yorkers, especially those from Onondaga and surrounding counties, with treatment for substance use disorder. We are glad to see these programs up and running and already working for families.”


These programs will serve those in need in multiple counties. For more information about the peer engagement and support services, contact the Onondaga County Department of Adult & Long Term Care Services, Maria Sweeney, Peer Engagement Specialist, 315-435-3355, x4941 or via email at For information about the Family Support Navigator Program, contact the Prevention Network/OCAA at 315-471-1359 or contact Ashley Dailey via e-mail at


New Yorkers struggling with substance use, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the State’s HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369). New Yorkers can find an OASAS-certified substance use disorder treatment provider by using the OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard or by visiting the NYS OASAS Find Help web page. Visit for more information on addressing heroin and prescription opioid abuse, including a Kitchen Table Tool Kit to help start the conversation about the warning signs of addiction and where to get help. For additional tools to use in talking to a young person about preventing underage drinking or drug use, visit the State’s Talk2Prevent website.



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