Important Victory re: MAT

May 28, 2021

On Wednesday, the Assembly passed S1795/A533 — a bill that will mandate medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in all New York State jails and prisons, which passed the Senate last week.

Currently, individuals who are incarcerated in New York State are being forced into inhumane withdrawals, which leads to increased risks of overdose — people are 40 times more likely to die of an overdose the first two weeks of release. In 2019, this bill passed the Senate, but died in the Assembly in the final hours of the session.

This bill will establish medication-assisted treatment in all New York State jails and prisons to ensure people have access to this lifesaving treatment at any point of their incarceration, the entirety of their incarceration, and through a collaborative reentry strategy to ensure continuation of their treatment in the community.  Again, this is a major victory and we thank all NYS Council members for their support of this bill!

The work ahead:  In the remaining seven days of the session, the legislature must pass a bill to remove barriers to MAT for people who are enrolled in Medicaid, and the Opioid Settlement bill.  Together these bills will address some of the most critical issues facing an already overwhelmed system of prevention, treatment and recovery services.