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Tompkins County seeking community input on opioid settlement funds

Prescribing of oxycodone and other opioid pain pills rose sharply after 2000.
New York State is receiving $1.6 billion in opioid settlement money.

Tompkins County is looking for ways to distribute opioid settlement funds, and is looking to the community for help.

A survey is available until May 29 for Tompkins County community members to share their thoughts on ways the county’s $700,000 in opioid settlement money would be distributed.

Travis Brooks, a Tompkins County Legislator and co-facilitator on the Tompkins County Opioid Task Force, said the survey will allow for more community-focused needs to be addressed.

“Every county is struggling with the opioid crisis,” Brooks said. “Every county. There is not a county that is exempt from this crisis, but every county has its own set of programs, it has its own set of responses.”

Brooks said the task force is looking for the most effective ways to distribute the funds. The survey results will allow them to make more educated decisions toward that funding.

“We really want this money to go to data driven programs, harm reduction programs that are new and meet some of the things we are looking for,” Brooks said.

Brooks said the survey intends to be a place where the task force can listen to community members about solutions, as opposed to telling the community what to do.

“We are not pretending to be the experts, we are not pretending to know it all,” Brooks said. “We’re saying, ‘Listen we have some funds, we are looking for something innovative, we are looking for something different, we are looking for something that is driven by data.’”

While the settlement funds are a launching pad for addressing the opioid crisis, Brooks says there will always be more that can be done.

“$710,000 isn’t going to address this issue, it’s going to create some opportunity but we have a long, long fight ahead of us with opioids in this country,” Brooks said.

Abigail is a temporary WRVO News Reporter/Producer working on regional and digital news stories. She graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2022 where she studied English and Public Relations. Abigail enjoys reading, writing, exploring CNY and spending time with family and friends. Abigail first joined the WRVO team as a student reporter in June 2022.