County seeks ideas for opioid $


By Patsy Nicosia

The Schoharie County Office of Community Services is seeking proposals for a piece of $148,000 in opioid settlement funding.
And hoping they’ll come from outside of the box.
Deadline for proposals is 5pm, Friday, May 5 with the best RFPs chosen by May 26.
The work must be completed in Schoharie County and target treatment, recovery, prevention or harm reduction.
Proposals must be submitted to Schoharie County Behavioral Health Services, Attn: Sarah A. Nies, LMHC, Director of Community Services, 113 Park Place, Suite 1, Schoharie, NY 12157.
More details are available on the county’s homepage
According to the New York State Department of Health’s Opioid Quarterly Report issued in January, the county saw a 33 percent increase in opioid deaths from 2020-21—higher than in the rest of the state.
The state also found a significant increase in Emergency Department visits because of opioid overdoses and a 12.5 percent increase in the administration of Narcan by EMS during the same period.
In 2022 alone, according to the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, the death rate for opioid overdoses here was 9.6 percent.
According to Sarah Nies, director of the Office of Community Services, the county could see as much as $450,000 in settlement monies over the next 16 years—a figure that sounds like a lot, but only breaks down to about $28,000 a year, and as the years go by, could really only mean a few thousand annually.
This year, OCS is seeking proposals from community-based organizations, non-profits, and businesses for up to $148,000 in that first-year funding.
Ms. Nies sees the settlement monies as a way to “fill in the gaps.”
“I’m excited to see what sort of proposals will be submitted,” she said. “I’m hoping we’ll get a variety of proposals and some ideas we might not have come up with on our own.”
Because the funding won’t last forever, Ms. Nies said it’s also important that the proposals be sustainable.
“This is an opportunity for the community to come together,” she said.
“Recovery is about more than abstinence…Everyone deserves a quality of life with people who care about them as they put their lives back together. Ultimately, they need a community behind them.”
Justin Hamm, executive director for the Schoharie County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, agreed.
“In order for Schoharie County to continue to combat the opioid crisis, there needs to be a continued collaborative approach between prevention education, treatment, and recovery services,” he said.
“These dollars will help us fill in the gaps in services.”