Featured on: WNYT New Channel 13
Story by: Nia Hamm
Saratoga Springs — Staff at Saratoga Stadium in Saratoga Springs expect huge crowds at the sports bar for Super Bowl Sunday.
Featured on: WNYT New Channel 13
Story by: Nia Hamm
Saratoga Springs — Staff at Saratoga Stadium in Saratoga Springs expect huge crowds at the sports bar for Super Bowl Sunday.
The Community Coalition for Family Wellness is highlighting the upcoming New Year’s holiday as an opportunity to participate in the Reduce the Meds — Reduce the Risk initiative by removing old medications from the home.
As the coming year ushers in new measures to combat substance use disorders and the growing opioid epidemic, The Community Coalition for Family Wellness find that it is important that everyone takes steps to prevent medication misuse.
The most common sources of non-medical use prescription medication is one’s home and the homes of friends and relatives.
Prescription opioid misuse makes up the largest portion of all fatal overdoses and is now the number one cause of death in the United States, a news release said.
All individuals are asked to monitor and secure their medications in their homes until they can responsibly dispose of their medications in a deactivation kit or permanent disposal sites.
More than 750 free drug deactivation system pouches have been distributed at 34 local businesses, municipal buildings, religious organization, and community and educational facilities in the area.
Additionally, more than 650 pouches have been distributed to police and emergency medical service agencies in northern Saratoga County.
Deterra is a drug deactivation system that effectively, safely and quickly deactivates medications. It is powered by a patented MAT12 Molecular Absorption Technology. This environmentally-friendly system has been proven to neutralize drugs in a biodegradable package that works for pills, patches and liquids. Users simply place unused medication in the pouch, add water, and dispose of in the trash. All kits are provided free of charge to any individual at any of the local sites, which include the Saratoga Springs Police Department, Saratoga Hospital, Moreau Town Hall, Moreau Emergency Medical Service, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s office, Ballston Spa Police Department, CVS in Mechanicville, Clifton Park-Halfmoon EMS, Glens Falls Police Department, the Warren County Sheriff’s office and the Washington County Sheriff’s office.
More information and a full list of locations with addresses can be found at ccfw.weebly.com/medication-safety.
September 30, 2016
Seen on: WNYT New Channel 13
Story by: Nia Hamm
Full coverage can be found here: http://wnyt.com/news/fundraiser-shines-light-on-opioid-epidemic-in-saratoga-co—–/4279006/
SARATOGA SPRINGS — “We’re just hoping to help someone avoid where we are,” said Kevin Provost.
Provost and his wife, Maureen, lost their son, Dan, 2 and a half years ago.
He would have celebrated a birthday this Monday but died of a heroin overdose.
“He was ready he went through detox,” Maureen said. “Came out of detox and couldn’t find another facility, an inpatient facility to take him,” she said.
The Provosts joined dozens for an art show and fundraiser Friday evening for The Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Council of Saratoga County.
Executive Director Janine Stuchin said the opioid epidemic has a grip on the community.
“We have in this county at least 30 people a week who are having non-fatal overdoses but are being treated by emergency medical services,” Stuchin said.
Attorney Andrew Deluca, who hosted the event at his Saratoga Springs office, said he’s seen a spike in the number of his clients who are addicted to heroin.
“A large reason for their crimes are because they’re addicted to heroin,” DeLuca said. “And I see a lot of them being sent to state prison and once they get clean they’re a different person,” he said.
The Provosts believe the biggest barrier to recovery is access to treatment.
“When an individual is ready to go in to enter the recovery phase they need to do it then,” Maureen said. “They can’t wait the six weeks or eight weeks for, for a bed,” she said.
Prevention Council board member Brian Farr is 20 years sober and is hoping to change the conversation about addiction.
“…getting rid of the guilt and the shame and the stigma that people face and not just people suffering from addiction but their families as well,” he said.
“Trying to do a small part I think is all we’re doing but we need people to step up,” Ken said.
Story By: Wendy Liberatore
Seen in: The Times Union
Link to full article: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Art-show-benefit-to-battle-Saratoga-heroin-crisis-9465159.php
Attorney Andrew DeLuca says many of his clients are compelled into a cycle of crime, not because they want to be, but because of an addiction. And few addictions are more insidious than that of heroin.
To call attention to their plight, he’s hosting an art show Friday, with proceeds benefiting the city’s Prevention Council.
“The crimes they commit are linked to their addiction,” said the Saratoga Springs defense lawyer. “They will do anything to get it. Most are intelligent individuals who feel terrible about what they did. They just can’t help themselves.”
Over the years, DeLuca has seen an increase in the number of clients who are hooked on heroin. He calls it an epidemic, and Saratoga Springs police agree. In the Spa City, the police say they “routinely arrest people in possession of heroin and needles.” They also respond to 25 to 30 opioid overdoses a year and see between four and six people die in the city annually from opioid use.
Slaying the Dragon
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Law Office of Andrew DeLuca, 9 Maple Ave., Saratoga Springs
The county numbers are higher. Saratoga County emergency medical services receives 30 opioid overdose calls a week, according to the Prevention Council. In 2015, it was 14 calls. In 2013, it was five. Nationally, the Center for Disease Control estimates 78 people a day die from opioid overdose.
The growing numbers prompted DeLuca to team with the Prevention Council in what both hope will raise awareness and funding to reduce opioid addiction. They are hosting Slay the Dragon, an art show and benefit for the council from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday in DeLuca’s office, 9 Maple Ave. Funds for art sold will go toward the council’s efforts to educate youth and parents as well as training to use Narcan, the drug that reverses an opioid overdose. Last year, the Prevention Council trained and handed out Narcan kits to 75 people throughout the county.
“Family members with an addict living with them really need Narcan,” said Janine Stuchin, the executive director of the Prevention Council. “It saves lives.”
Friday’s event, organized by art promoter Gabriela Delattibodier Wright, features work by many of the area’s best known artists. Among them are sculptors John Van Alstine and Noah Savett as well as painters Tom Myott and Zack Lobdell. DeLuca is also showing two works from his personal collection — both depict arrest mug shots — one of Dennis Hopper and one of Robert Downey, Jr. He feels they are appropriate as both overcame addiction and rose to the top of their profession. He also points to a charcoal drawing of Kurt Cobain, who battled addiction and then sadly took his own life.
“They all struggled with addiction, but Kurt Cobain did not get the help he needed,” said DeLuca.
Of course, the Prevention Council hopes that its educational programs will prevent anyone from sinking into the horrors of addiction. The council is known for its work with youth, counseling and leading substance abuse awareness classes in every school in the county. The nonprofit also trains bartenders and servers on responsible drinking, attends court-mandated victim impact panels, reaches out to problem gamblers, hosts drug take-back programs and educates children on handling bullies and staying safe on the internet. As its name implies, the main mission is prevention.
“People think there is a stereotype for an addict,” said Stuchin. “There isn’t. Addiction is an equal opportunity disease.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS: In celebration of recovery from addiction and other mental health issues, members of Recovery Advocacy in Saratoga and The Prevention Council of Saratoga Springs will be holding a half-mile walk from The Spirit of Life fountain in Congress Park across Broadway to the new Tree of Hope at High Rock Park.
The free event begins at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner and other local community leaders will provide welcoming remarks. Following the walk, there will be a brief ceremony to commemorate the Tree of Hope.
Janine Stuchin, executive director of the Prevention Council, said, “Historically the High Rock area and its springs have been a place to gather and promote healing; we are honored to continue in that tradition.”
More than 1,000 events are planned across the country to celebrate recovery.
Recovery Advocacy in Saratoga is local, volunteer-based movement for recovery that tries to reduce the stigma of addiction and promotes wellness in long-term recovery by changing public perception of the disease and those affected by it.
September 13, 2016
Seen in: The Daily Gazette
Story by: Cady Kuzmich
Link to full article: http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2016/sep/13/heroin-opioid-demo-spreads-overdose-knowledge/
Helping heroin addicts stay safe and get help is personal for Project Safe Point’s Alfonso Ferrara.
When he was born, he was born in detox.
“I come from a family of addicts. My mother got clean as soon as I was born so I grew up in the recovery phase,” said Ferrara. “I’ve seen what addiction does. I’m not there telling them ‘no.’ I’m there to make them safe.”
He led a heroin and opioid overdose prevention demonstration at the Clifton Park – Halfmoon Library on Moe Road Monday evening, September 12.
Ferrara studied psychology at SUNY Albany and has been working on education initiatives with Project Safe Point for about four months.
About two dozen community members, including concerned family members and retired nurses, gathered in a small conference room to learn how to properly administer NARCAN to help save someone who has overdosed. Some of those in the room worked with addicts professionally, witnessed overdoses or have a loved one who is addicted to heroin. Everyone who attended the event was given a NARCAN kit to take home.
A retired nurse from Schenectady, who wished to remain anonymous, described stopping at the scene of an overdose on Balltown Road in Niskayuna on August 12. “I was on my way to the bank and saw the police pulled over. I told them I’m a nurse and asked if I could help. They pulled the man from his car. He was grey and blue. We gave him CPR for 17 minutes but he was too far gone. He was 49 years old. The police were all out of NARCAN,” she said.
Another woman expressed worry and concern for her stepson, who is an addict.
Project Safe Point, which falls under Catholic Charities, embraces the notion of harm reduction. According to their website, practical harm reduction incorporates “a spectrum of strategies: from safer use, to managed use to abstinence to meet drug users ‘where they’re at,’ addressing conditions of use along with the use itself.”
Project Safe Point facilitates a needle exchange program so drug users have the option to use sterile needles rather than reusing their old ones. “If 10 syringes cost 10 dollars at CVS, they’re going to reuse their old syringes. When people are really addicted, they keep using so they don’t feel sick all the time. Withdrawal won’t kill you, but it can feel like it’s killing you,” Ferrara added.
During his demonstration on how to administer NARCAN, Ferrara discussed the difference between a “heavy nod” and an overdose. If a drug user is in a heavy nod, simply enjoying their high and ignoring the outside world rather than having overdosed, Ferraro said announcing you are about to administer NARCAN may help snap them out of it. NARCAN effectively throws the drug user into withdrawal, according to Ferrara.
If you find an individual who might have overdosed, you should check their responsiveness. A firm sternum rub should wake anyone who is simply in a heavy nod. If the individual is unresponsive even after a sternum rub, Ferraro said the next step is calling 911. If you need to leave the room in order to call 911, place the individual in a safety position on their side before leaving the room. After calling 911, begin administering NARCAN. Inject the drug into a large muscle like the upper arm, thigh or butt. It should take about two to three minutes to kick in, so you will need to do CPR while you wait to see if it took effect. If the individual is still unresponsive after the first three minutes, try administering another dose of NARCAN. “It can’t hurt you,” said Ferrara.
The NARCAN kit comes with two vials of NARCAN and two big-tipped syringes. The syringes feature big tips so they can pierce through clothing if necessary. Ferrara advised those who would be administering NARCAN to avoid getting air in the syringe. Since NARCAN is injected into large muscles rather than veins and time is of the essence in overdose scenarios, Ferraro said not to worry too much about minor air bubbles.
Once the NARCAN begins working, the individual will likely take a big gasp of air and begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms — it’s likely they will want more opiates. Ferraro said remaining calm and using simple, straight-forward messages is key.
Ferraro noted the NARCAN kits shouldn’t be exposed to extreme temperatures, so storing the kit in a car wouldn’t be ideal. He suggested tucking the small blue kit in a backpack or a purse.
Another method of responding to an overdose involves a nasal spray, but Ferrara said a shortage has prevented Project Safe Point from being able to distribute them to the public. For those who might have access to the nasal spray, Ferrara said it’s important to only spray half of the dose in each nostril so it can be properly absorbed.
Heroin addiction has been a growing problem in upstate New York. The number of people upstate seeking treatment for heroin addiction increased by 222 percent from 2004 to 2013 — that’s 86 percent higher than the spike in heroin-related treatments statewide in that same time frame, according to James Norton of the Southern Saratoga County Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Council
The number of heroin-related fatalities in the United States has nearly tripled since 2010, according to the Center for Disease Control. The demographic most at risk for heroin addiction are people ages 18 to 25, said Norton. Heroin use “more than doubled” among that demographic in the last 10 years, according to the CDC.
· DWI Survivors tell of the grief and painful changes they endure as the result of losing a family member or friend in a DWI crash.
· DWI Victims describe the injuries they suffered, and continue to endure, from a DWI crash.
(Alexandria, VA) – Two significant studies released this weekend showed continuing problems of legalized marijuana in Colorado and Washington State. The first study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that marijuana poisoning cases among children in Colorado has been rising an average of 34 percent per year — almost double the average 19 percent annual increase in the rest of the United States. The second study, conducted by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, found a statistically significant increase in daytime stoned driving in Washington State since its implementation of legal retail marijuana sales in 2014.
With respect to the Colorado study, about half of the cases of child marijuana poisoning involved edible pot products. The average stay at the hospital was 11 hours. Moreover, the researchers concluded that, “Almost half of the patients seen in the children’s hospital in the 2 years after legalization had exposures from recreational marijuana, suggesting that legalization did affect the incidence of exposures.”
In Washington State, researchers conducted voluntary, anonymous drug tests of drivers via oral and blood tests, and found that more drivers tested THC-positive one year after implementation of the retail sales law than immediately before. Statistically significant increases were observed among daytime drivers, where that rate more than doubled from before implementation of legalization laws (7.8%) to one year after retail legalization was implemented (18.9%). Stoned driving at night also increased in the same time period (17.5% to 22.2%), although this difference was not statistically significant. Overall, more than one in five drivers tested positive for marijuana one year after implementation.
“A powerful marijuana industry lobby has emerged in Colorado and Washington — stopping at nothing to block restrictions on advertising and promoting marijuana candies — and now we are paying the price,” said Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). “Other states should look at the example Colorado and Washington offer when considering whether or not to legalize and commercialize marijuana. The best intentions do not matter — once legalized, the industry takes over and writes the rules.”
Jo McGuire, co-chair of SAM’s Colorado affiliate and president & CEO of 5 Minutes of Courage, a Colorado advocacy group for drug-free communities, workplaces, and youth, also commented, “It’s not surprising that we’re experiencing these problems. We have made pot use more socially acceptable for everyone. Other states shouldn’t follow our example.”
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens who oppose marijuana legalization and want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. Learn more at www.learnaboutsam.org.
The Prevention Council of Saratoga County will be setting up a network of Recovery Community and Outreach Centers to serve the Southern Adirondack/Capital region in New York State.
It is one of six agencies announced today by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, with $10.5 million in funding over five years to support communities across New York. The new centers, funded by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, will provide health, wellness and other critical support for individuals and families who are recovering from a substance use disorder or are seeking recovery services.
As described by OASAS, The Recovery Community and Outreach Centers will provide a community-based, non-clinical setting that is safe, welcoming and alcohol/drug-free for any member of the community. Each recovery center will respond to the local area’s specific needs related to obtaining substance abuse treatment services and addiction recovery supports. The centers will promote long-term recovery through skill building, recreation, wellness education, employment readiness, civic restoration opportunities, and other social activities. Services will be accessible not only during the daytime hours, but also during evening and weekends, to meet the needs of individuals and families who may be in need of assistance at varying hours.
The Prevention Council collaborated with the HFM Prevention Council, public health services across several counties, county mental health services, RAIS (Recovery Advocacy in Saratoga), Friends of Recovery – Warren, Washington, Young People in Recovery and many other community health agencies. Prevention Council’s Executive Director Janine Stuchin explains, “We have extensive support and enthusiasm across our communities to create a unique and comprehensive recovery support service. Our existing recovery community is engaged and ready to contribute as well.”
Ms. Stuchin makes the analogy, “This network of recovery community centers will assist families and individuals living with the chronic illness of addiction in much the way the American Lung Association, American Diabetes Association assists those living with diabetes and lung disease or cancer. These are all chronic conditions that require changes for individuals and families. The support, resources and services provided by these associations increases the chance for success and a healthy life. We plan to do the same for those living with the disease of addiction. It is a treatable condition, there are many people living in our communities in long term recovery. Our anticipated services will increase the number of those doing so and improve the quality of life for individuals, families and our communities.”
Ann Rhodes, Executive Director of HFM Prevention Council adds, “This partnership compliments our new Creative Connections Clubhouse which provides recovery services to youth in Amsterdam.”
The Recovery Community and Outreach Centers project will be funded for 5 years for a total of $1.75 million and will serve 6 counties: Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington. It is anticipated that the region will have on-site services located at 3 locations across the area; with services to be operating within 6 months of contracts signed.
For More Coverage:
GOVERNOR CUOMO AND LEGISLATIVE LEADERS ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT TO COMBAT HEROIN AND OPIOID ABUSE IN NEW YORK STATE
Comprehensive Legislative Package Limits Opioid Prescriptions from 30 to 7 Days, Requires Mandatory Prescriber Education on Pain Management to Stem the Tide of Addiction, Eliminates Burdensome Insurance Barriers to Treatment
Expands Supports for New Yorkers in Recovery, Increases Treatment Beds by 270 and Expands Program Slots for Substance Use Disorder by 2,335 in New York
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeffrey Klein today announced a final agreement on new legislation to combat heroin and prescription opioid abuse in New York State. The agreement comes on the heels of the recent release of the Governor’s Heroin and Opioid Task Force’s final report and recommendations. The legislation builds on the state’s aggressive efforts to better monitor prescription drugs, increase access to treatment, and break the cycle of heroin and opioid addiction in New York.
“New York and the nation as a whole is grappling with how to combat heroin and opioid addiction and, with this comprehensive plan, we are continuing to take decisive action to end this epidemic and protect our families and communities,”Governor Cuomo said. “This multi-faceted legislative package will increase access to treatment, expand prevention strategies, and save lives by helping ensure New Yorkers struggling with addiction have access to the services and resources they need to get well. I commend Majority Leader Flanagan, Speaker Heastie and Senator Klein for their deep dedication to addressing this issue, and I look forward to our continued work to protect the health and safety of all New Yorkers.”
Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, “Everyday lives are being lost and families destroyed by the scourge of heroin and opioid abuse. The Senate formed the Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction more than two years ago to fight this epidemic, and our good work has resulted in numerous laws being passed, $189 million allocated in the 2016-17 budget, and several of the recommendations recently issued by Co-Chairs Senators Terrence Murphy, Robert Ortt, and George Amedore being incorporated into this three-way agreement. I thank the Governor, Assembly Speaker Heastie, and especially the parents and families who have been personally touched by tragedy for working with us to prevent addiction, ensure treatment for those who need it, support people in their recovery, and bring hope to communities battling opioid abuse throughout New York.”
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “The Assembly Majority believes that supporting New Yorkers struggling with substance use is critically important. In some cases, families have fought for years to free their loved ones from the grips of addiction. The recent rise in opioid-related deaths has raised the alarm that no home or community is immune to tragedy. If we don’t act now, more families will have to carry the devastating burden of losing a loved one to drug addiction. For the sake of our children and families, it is imperative that we strengthen access to support and treatment services in every community and target resources to combat this epidemic in all its forms.”
Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeffrey Klein said, “Heroin and opioid addictions have ruined so many lives in every corner of this state. We all have come together to combat the scourge of heroin and opioids and to get those addicted the help they need. I especially want to thank Senator Carlucci for his leadership on promoting wraparound services to ensure that needs of those in recovery are meet to prevent relapses.”
The package of three bills includes wide-ranging initiatives to address the state’s current heroin and opioid crisis, including provisions to limit the over-prescription of opioids and remove barriers to access for inpatient treatment and medication. The legislation aims to address issues and concerns raised by individuals in recovery, families, and treatment providers across the state.
ELIMINATES BURDENSOME INSURANCE BARRIERS TO INCREASE ACCESS TO NEEDED ADDICTION TREATMENT
Overdose-reversal medication such as naloxone saves lives. However, the law does not currently allow certain licensed professionals to administer this medication to individuals overdosing from heroin and opioids. To ensure that more people are able to help reverse overdoses, the new legislation authorizes trained professionals to administer naloxone in emergency situations without risk to their professional license.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, “As co-chair of the Governor’s Task Force, I have heard from parents, doctors and recovery experts who all spoke of the devastation and heartbreak this crisis has caused countless families and communities across our state. We have responded to the cries for help with bold action. This agreement acknowledges that the only way to save lives and stop this epidemic is with a comprehensive approach that includes limiting prescriptions at their source, removing barriers to treatment and expanding recovery options. I commend the Governor, Legislature and Task Force for taking this issue head on and making New York the national leader in solving this problem, which has plagued all of us for too long.”
NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, “We traveled the state and heard from New Yorkers about what they need to battle opioids and addiction. I am pleased and proud to say that this comprehensive package of legislation addresses the needs of New Yorkers battling addiction and positions New York’s substance use disorder care system as one of the strongest in the nation. I thank Governor Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Hochul, Task Force members, the Senate and Assembly, and my dedicated team at OASAS, for their commitment to strengthening our addiction system of care and their hard work to enact a package of bills that will help New Yorkers overcome addiction now and into the future.”
ADDITIONAL INITIATIVES TO COMBAT ADDICTION
The 2016-2017 budget invests nearly $200 million through the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic — an 82 percent increase in state spending since 2011. This investment includes $66 million for residential treatment beds, including counseling and support services for roughly 8,000 individuals; $38 million to fund medication-assisted treatment programs that serve approximately 12,000 clients in residential or outpatient settings; $25 million in funding for state-operated Addiction Treatment Centers; $24 million for outpatient services that provide group and individual counseling; and $8 million for crisis/detox programs to manage and treat withdrawal from heroin and opioids.
Today’s agreement also allocates funding to add 270 treatment beds and 2,335 opioid treatment program slots across the state to help New Yorkers suffering from substance use disorder and to expand vital treatment and recovery resources.
The agreement funds additional family support navigators across New York to assist substance users and their families locate and access treatment options and cope with addiction. The agreement will also expand the on-call peer program which partners individuals in recovery with people in hospitals suffering from substance use disorder to help connect these individuals to treatment and other resources upon discharge. The state is also increasing the number of Recovery Community and Outreach Centers and Adolescent Club Houses statewide to provide safe spaces for teens in recovery that deliver health and wellness services for teens and young adults.
The Governor’s Heroin and Opioid Task Force – comprised of a diverse coalition of experts in healthcare, drug policy, advocacy, education, and parents and New Yorkers in recovery – held executive meetings and eight listening sessions across the state – hearing directly from health care providers, family support groups, educators, law enforcement officials, and community members and gathering input that has influenced the initiatives announced today. The task force is co-chaired by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. The final report and recommendations can be found here. For more information, please visit: combatheroin.ny.gov.
Since 2014, Governor Cuomo has implemented a series of aggressive reforms to combat heroin and opioid addiction, including signing historic Combat Heroin Legislation that year; expanding insurance coverage for substance use disorder treatment; increasing access and enhancing treatment capacity across the state, including a major expansion of opioid treatment and recovery services; implementing the comprehensive I-STOP law to curb prescription drug abuse; and launching a public awareness and prevention campaign to inform New Yorkers about the dangers of heroin use and opioid misuse.
State Senator Terrence Murphy said, “Across New York and the nation, far too many lives are being lost due to heroin and opioid addiction. Combating this epidemic has been and remains a top priority of mine and this legislative package will help us save the lives of vulnerable New Yorkers by expanding access to treatment, removing insurance barriers and enhancing community prevention statewide. I was proud to be a member of the Governor’s Heroin Task Force, as well co-chairman of the Senate’s task force, both of which played a roles in seeing these reforms enacted. I commend Governor Cuomo, Lt. Governor Hochul, Commissioner González-Sánchez and everyone involved for putting the people of our state ahead of partisan politics.”
NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “This agreement between Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature will help us battle the growing opioid and heroin epidemic and save countless lives. These measures will increase access to treatment for people trying to recover from addiction, and require physicians and patients alike to fully understand the potential dangers of opioid abuse.”
Maria T. Vullo, Acting Superintendent of Financial Services said, “The nationwide opioid epidemic requires bold and innovative action and this Administration is leading the way. The elimination of insurer prior approval for inpatient care and essential medications, along with the adoption of objective, state approved criteria to determine insurance coverage for necessary inpatient treatment will ensure that New Yorkers suffering from addiction, and their loved ones, will receive the assistance they desperately need. I am honored to have been part of the Opioid and Heroin Task Force and to contribute to the creation of this groundbreaking legislation.”
Susan Salomone, a Task Force member and Executive Director of Drug Crisis in our Backyard, said, “I thank Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature for agreeing to this important package of legislation. These groundbreaking initiatives will save lives and make recovery a possibility for many more families in New York.”
Anne Constantino, a Task Force member and CEO of Horizon Health Services, said, “I thank the governor for his leadership in prioritizing this important public health crisis. The changes represented in this package will go a long way in helping us to prevent serious addiction and to provide timely access to treatment and recovery support. These solutions are workable and will make an immediate impact. I am grateful for the courage of those who shared their personal stories, and for the commitment and compassion shown by all those that have advocated for lives to be saved.”
John Coppola, Executive Director of the NY Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers, said,“Governor Cuomo and the Senate and Assembly are acutely aware that the epidemic of overdose and addiction related to prescription opioids and heroin is a public health emergency. Their agreement on a legislative package to address this crisis provides impacted families and communities with hope.”
Patrice Wallace-Moore, CEO of Arms Acres, said, “As a person who works on the front lines of addiction treatment, I cannot thank Governor Cuomo and the Legislature enough for their actions. This package will have a significant and positive impact for those struggling with addiction and their families.”
New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state’s HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369). New Yorkers can find an OASAS-certified substance use disorder treatment provider by using the OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard. For help with accessing care and insurance coverage, visit the Access Treatment page on the OASAS website. To find a naloxone overdose reversal medication training near you, visit the OASAS opioid overdose prevention trainings page. Visit www.combatheroin.ny.gov for more information on addressing heroin and prescription opioid abuse, including a Kitchen Table Tool Kit to help start the conversation about the warning signs of addiction and where to get help. For additional tools to use in talking to a young person about preventing underage drinking or drug use, visit the State’s Talk2Prevent website.