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New state funding for addiction service centers aims to bring more people towards recovery

Scotty Knowlton (left) now shares his stories with others to encourage and aid in addiction recovery.
Scotty Knowlton
Scotty Knowlton (left) now shares his stories with others to encourage and aid in addiction recovery.

The demand for resources for people is needed as drug and substance abuse continues to increase during Covid. This month, Governor Kathy Hochul announced $100 million will be invested into crisis stabilization centers for people who experience a mental health or substance use crisis.

Recovering addicts such as Scotty Knowlton hope the investments result in more outreach and drug prevention awareness.

“I personally think all attention should be on the addicts, but that’s not in a realistic world.”

Scotty shares his own story with current addicts to connect and hopefully learn from one another.

“I know everybody’s recovery is different but if something in my experience can help them and they take it that’s all I can hope for.”

He was raised in an environment where drug use was normal within the family…

“I just came up around it, it seemed like that is what was right. I didn’t see a problem with it for a while until it was clear as day that it was a problem.”

He began to steal cars as a way of funding his supply of drug use. For 18 months he was placed in prison.

Scotty decided to release himself from his addiction after he was found nearly dead by his father.

“He found his son dead. I flatlined. So I’m sure he, I can’t imagine what was going through his head. I’ve traumatized him, he still to this day says he has dreams about it, he still has flashbacks about it.”

He now mediates several AA meetings and was able to meet his sponsor, who saved his life.

Scotty Knowlton
Knowlton now mentors others in recovery from substance abuse disorders.

“There was something about him that he had that i wanted. Just how he carried himself, how he was happy, he was able to laugh without a drink or a drug. I wasn’t quite sure how to do that yet.”

Through his story Scotty hopes people can learn.

“I’m not who I used to be. Don’t beat up on the drug addict too much, don’t lose hope, pray for them. There’s always hope. You can get better if you wanted to, but no one can want it more than themself.”

Treatment centers will provide easier access for immediate care before conditions worsen. These facilities will be funded through a federal mental-health block grant.

Funding For New Behavioral Health Crisis Centers

Over $100 million in funding will be awarded to create twelve Intensive Crisis Stabilization Centers. $20 million of those funds will go towards start-up costs and over $80 million will be for operating funds.

The Intensive Crisis Stabilization Centers will be open 24/7 year-round, and walk-in care will be available for all patients. The centers will include mobile crisis teams, crisis residential programs, and other community services and supports.

"Every New Yorker deserves the dignity of having access to quality health care, especially during a public health crisis," Gov. Hochul said. "These behavioral health centers will provide immediate assistance to people in crisis before their condition worsens. ”

According to a release from the Governor’s office, three of the centers will be in New York City. The other nine centers will be located across New York.

Adriana Loh is a graduate student in broadcast journalism at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications and shares reporting time at WAER Public Media.