ST. GEORGE — The borough's first 24/7 drug recovery center opened with a $1.75 million state grant to help fight Staten Island's opioid epidemic.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the opening of the Next Step Resource and Recovery Center, at 26 Bay St., which will offer addicts services like peer coaching and referrals to rehab.
The spot will also be part of District Attorney Michael McMahon's HOPE Program, where low-level drug offenders can get treatment to get their charges dropped.
"Addiction is a disease that devastates the lives of those it touches and it is critical that we offer the necessary tools to help New Yorkers end the cycle of substance abuse," Cuomo said in a statement. "The vital services and support provided by Next Step will help Staten Islanders in need get on the road to recovery and reclaim their lives."
The center, operated by the Community Health Action of Staten Island, will offer peer coaching, wellness education, employment readiness and more. Counselors will also refer addicts to inpatient and outpatient facilities, detox centers and more.
Staten Island has been in the throes of a prescription pill and heroin epidemic for years, which has gotten worse partly due to the introduction of the deadly and potent fentanyl into heroin batches.
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At least 107 people died from overdoses around the borough last year, the highest number since record keeping started in 2000 and a 35 percent increase from 2015 according to Borough President James Oddo and the Department of Health.
Officials expect the island's official death toll for 2016 may climb as high as 119 when the final data gets released later this year.