Bloomberg Philanthropies is giving $1 million to Paterson over the next three years to implement an opioid treatment program that will make medication-assisted treatment for addicts available “anytime, anywhere in 90 minutes.”
Paterson was one of 15 cities to win the Global Mayors Challenge run by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s charity Bloomberg Philanthropies.
“Paterson is committed to becoming a city of solutions and this award not only proves it but it will also help us save lives,” mayor Andre Sayegh said. “We are hopeful that our innovative idea will serve as a global model for other cities who are also addressing the Opioid epidemic.”
Sayegh’s program is called “RealFix” that will connect drug addicts with Suboxone to lessen their withdrawal symptoms. It will also provide referrals to treatment providers.
Each year, Paterson sees more than 1,700 opioid-related overdoses, according to data Sayegh’s team submitted to Bloomberg.
“Overdose deaths reached record numbers during the global pandemic. That’s why it’s so important to support the City of Paterson to implement RealFix – a cutting-edge innovation with lessons for cities around the world working to combat the opioid epidemic, said Michael Odermatt, Mayors Challenge program manager for Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We’re proud to see this project advance.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide technical support and coaching over a three-year period to implement the program.