GREAT KILLS — An extra $450,000 is being put into a campaign to tackle a drug epidemic on Staten Island.
The money will fund a drug addiction program's early intervention and counseling services, Councilman Joe Borelli said.
The mayor's office allocated the funds to the Staten Island Mental Health Society (SIMHS) so the group can expand its programming to help at-risk youth avoid drugs and a treatment program for teens addicted to opioids and other drugs, Borelli said.
"I am glad the administration was able to save this Staten Island Mental Health Society program, which is vital in combating opioid addiction among adolescents on Staten Island," Borelli said.
Of the $450,000, $300,000 will go towards SIMHS' Early Intervention program, which encourages youths who are at-risk for substance abuse to take part in other healthy activities, Borelli said.
With the other $150,000, SIMHS will establish a licensed Medical Assisted Treatment program to provide treatment for South Shore teens addicted to drugs, Borelli said.
"These two programs together will provide an extremely robust, much needed continuum of services for high risk youth on the South Shore," SIMHS president Fern Zagor said in a statement.
"Nothing like this currently exists for our youth on Staten Island."
Currently, SIMHS treats 500 people a year for addiction services, with about 100 inside the adolescent program, Borelli said.