Help Distribute $700,000 in Opioid Settlement Funds in Tompkins County

Tompkins County Opioid Task Force Opens Survey for Community Input

(Ithaca, N.Y., May 3, 2023) – The Tompkins County Opioid Task Force, a group appointed by the Legislature, is seeking community input on how best to use funds distributed to the County from recent Opioid Settlements. A survey is now open through May 29 for community members to share input on how $700,000 can best be used in Tompkins County to address the issue of harm from opioids in the community.

The funds are being received following a settlement in 2022 between a group of state attorneys general and several large drug companies. The settlement is related to the role those drug companies played in the opioid crisis. According to the CDC, the drug overdose epidemic continues to worsen in the United States. A majority of drug overdose deaths involve opioids. Locally, overdoses and drug-related deaths have been on the rise, the Tompkins County Whole Health Department publishes local data related to overdoses.

Upon learning that Tompkins County would be the recipient of these settlement funds, Chairwoman of the Tompkins County Legislature Shawna Black named an Opioid Task Force including elected officials, public health practitioners, and community members with lived experience (members listed at the end of this release) to determine their best use of funds and next steps. The Task Force will use the results of this community survey to solicit proposals from community organizations to address the opioid crisis in Tompkins County. It is expected that the funds will be granted to several community partners, ultimately funding new and/or innovative projects and interventions to curb harm from opioids in the community.

Legislator and Co-Chair of the Task Force Travis Brooks said, “Drugmakers have been draining resources from our community for years. This is a chance to use some of their profits for good, we can stem the tide of what these drugs are doing to people in our community. I look forward to hearing what your priorities are in using these funds, and the impact that we’ll be able to make by spending them with local organizations.”

Tompkins County Whole Health Commissioner and Task Force Co-Chair Frank Kruppa added, “We’ve seen the number of overdoses and drug-related deaths rise steadily in Tompkins County over the past five-plus years. We have to find new and innovative ways to reduce harm and invest in our communities. This is a chance to do that. Please take the time to share and fill out our survey – it will help us determine the best ways to spend these funds and make a difference on this issue of opioid addiction and overdoses.”

Taskforce members include:

    • Frank Kruppa
    • Travis Brooks
    • Zoe Lincoln
    • Harmony Ayers-Friedlander
    • Brenda Grinnell-Crosby
    • Phoebe Brown
    • Randy Brown
    • Shawna Black
    • Christina Moylan
    • Norma Jayne
    • Brian Briggs
    • Tanya Parsons
    • AJ Kircher