Addiction recovery coach who lost son to overdose weighs in on governor’s budget proposal

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A Rochester woman who lost her son to an overdose last year is weighing in on a portion of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s 2023 budget proposal that addresses the opioid crisis.

Last February, Rochester native Lori Drescher lost her 30-year-old son after he overdosed. She’s since become an addiction recovery coach. She says funding helps, but she wants to see "accountability to improve outcomes."

"What I mean by that is we can’t just keep spending more and more money and not improving the outcome,” Drescher said.

In Hochul’s 2023 budget proposal, $402 million will go toward the development of new and innovative treatment models and expanding the number of treatment facilities in communities around the state.

Drescher lost her son to an overdose last year. She says there is a severe need for treatment facilities.

"We talk about innovative programs, but I don’t see a whole lot of those programs, I definitely think there is progress but we need to do better,” Drescher said.

By "doing better" Drescher said she wants to see the Rochester treatment and recovery community "challenging the status quo".

"Some of this money needs to go to peer support, people who have been there and walked in the shoes, and we need to close the gap where people are dying when they leave treatment,” Drescher said.

Drescher said her 30-year-old son Jonathan would be here today if treatment facilities had more support in creating long-term plans for those in recovery.

"And he was one of those statistics, that left treatment, that left too early, who was released without having any type of plan. He slipped through the cracks and his first use killed him,” Drescher said.

The proposed budget will also invest more than $100 million in new resources from the opioid stewardship tax and litigation settlements with pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors.

Click here for Hochul’s full budget proposal summary.