Three colleges in New York state are receiving money as part of the launch of a scholarship program to encourage students to study addiction services, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office on Thursday announced. 

The money being made available as New York is contending with a sharp rise in overdose deaths over the last several years, which has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"New York State continues to work on expanding and enhancing our services to help individuals, families, and communities affected by addiction," Governor Hochul said. "This latest round of settlement funding will strengthen the addiction workforce, and support those who continue to be impacted by the opioid and overdose epidemic."

The money, nearly $3 million altogether, will go toward students who are pursuing a bachelor's degree in addiction studies or education requirements for a New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports. 

Alfred State College, Stony Brook University, and Empire State University have programs that will benefit as state officials look to strengthen the addiction support and service system. 

"These dedicated professionals do important work by providing critical, lifesaving support for thousands of New Yorkers who have been impacted by addiction," New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said. "We are excited for this new partnership, which will allow for even more people to enter this rewarding career, and help their fellow New Yorkers live healthier lives."

Funding for the scholarships are being made available through the opioid settlement fund. 

Alfred State College will receive $492,500 to support 125 students. Stony Brook University will receive $1.4 million, which is expected to affect 200 people seeking certification. And Empire State Universtiy wil receive $1 million for support scholarships.