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CNY addiction prevention expert "hopeful" Gov. Hochul's major budget commitment will ease crisis

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Syracuse drug addiction prevention experts are optimistic about being able to help those struggling with substance abuse under Governor Hochul’s plan to increase spending by 56 percent…

"....that is something that has destroyed the lives of too many of our loved ones. We're going to make a $400 million multi-year investment in opioid and substance abuse addiction services."

One of the agencies on the front lines is Prevention Network. Team leader of youth development and engagement Kein Trease says additional resources should eliminate some barriers.

"How do we get in front of a community. When we do, do we have the funding to give them these resources. Are we able to make sure naloxone is available. Are we able to make sure that anyone in the community can get it."

Trease says they’d like to continue providing harm reduction services like the opioid overdose reversal drug.

"For the past year, our agency has been running naloxone training for individuals. We know people are using, but we have the resources in the community to be able to reverse some of those overdoses that we're seeing."

He says they also offer fentanyl test strips so users can check for the extremely potent and deadly drug that’s often added to heroin. Trease says there’s no shortage of demand for their services.

"Obviously we're seeing an uptick in individuals with schools being back, and with community groups meeting again. We're definitely seeing an increase in how much educational programming people want around that prevention."

Trease says they’ve been well-equipped to offer virtual services to continue to serve the community. Data from the Onondaga County Health Department shows opioid overdose deaths were up 15 percent in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the previous year.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at