Happy older couple drinks coffee
October 21, 2022

NYS OASAS Announces Award of More than $1.3 Million to Enhance Prevention Services for Older Adults

NYS OASAS Announces Award of More than $1.3 Million to Enhance Prevention Services for Older Adults
Funding Supports Prevention Programs to Help Older New Yorkers Avoid Substance Use Disorders
OASAS Also Marking “Red Ribbon Week” Nationwide Prevention Effort

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports today announced the award of more than $1.3 million in funding to support the expansion of addiction prevention efforts for older adults. Eight OASAS prevention providers are receiving funding through this initiative, which involves two evidence-based approaches to addiction prevention.

“Addiction can affect anyone, including older adults, and often times this population can face barriers when accessing help,” OASAS Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said. “With this expansion of our prevention services for older adults we will be able to better reach them with these important services to support their health and well-being.”

Providers will use this funding to engage with older adults through the Wellness Initiative for Senior Education (WISE) program. WISE is a program for older adults that focuses on healthy aging and making healthy lifestyle choices. This includes education topics such as substance misuse, medication management, stress management, and depression.

The initiative also is designed to increase engagement with the adult population through the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). This is a comprehensive public health approach to identify those at risk of developing substance use disorders and delivers early intervention and treatment services to individuals whose exhibit habits of risky use of alcohol and other substances.

The award of this funding also coincides with the annual “Red Ribbon Week” which runs from October 23rd through 31st. This annual observance raises awareness of the harms caused by substance use, and works to publicize available prevention services.

OASAS is partnering with the New York State Office for the Aging and the New York State Division of Veterans’ Services for this initiative. Funding was provided to New York State through the federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Supplemental Grant, and awardees are listed by region below:

Finger Lakes

  • CASA-Trinity Inc. - $197,408

Mohawk Valley

  • Catholic Charities of Herkimer County – $200,000

New York City

  • The Educational Alliance - $182,917
  • Elmcor Youth and Adults Activities - $200,000
  • Riseboro Community Partnership - $200,000

North Country

  • Pivot Primary Prevention - $151,810
  • Substance Abuse Prevention Team Essex County - $200,000

Western New York

  • Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse - $39,355


New York State Office for the Aging Director Greg Olsen said, “When it comes to addiction identification and treatment, older adults have unique needs, especially individuals who may be isolated, struggling with medical conditions, or experiencing other root causes. The service and outreach programs being supported today are effective because they are attuned to these specialized needs while also helping to overcome the added burden of social stigma. NYSOFA is proud of our strong collaborative work with OASAS to support these efforts, including medication safety, evidence-based interventions, and screening to help older adults overcome drug or alcohol misuse.”

New York State Division of Veterans’ Services Director Viviana DeCohen said, “We are grateful to our partners at OASAS and OFA for addressing the unique needs of older adults seeking substance use treatment and assistance. We are aware that substance use disorders are also an issue impacting our veterans and their families and appreciate the opportunity to join forces to better serve those who served our nation and state through their military service. We look forward to continuing this important work together.” 

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) oversees one of the nation’s largest substance use disorder systems of care with approximately 1,700 prevention, treatment and recovery programs serving over 680,000 individuals per year. This includes the direct operation of 12 Addiction Treatment Centers where our doctors, nurses, and clinical staff provide inpatient and residential services to approximately 8,000 individuals per year. OASAS is the single designated state agency responsible for the coordination of state-federal relations in the area of addiction services.

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369). 

Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, residential, or outpatient care can be found using the NYS OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard at FindAddictionTreatment.ny.gov or through the NYS OASAS website

If you, or a loved one, have experienced insurance obstacles related to treatment or need help filing an appeal for a denied claim, contact the CHAMP helpline by phone at 888-614-5400 or email at [email protected].