Some Good News! Gov. Signs Legislative Package
December 23, 2022
|For Immediate Release: 12/23/2022||GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL|
GOVERNOR HOCHUL SIGNS LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE TO HELP NEW YORKERS PREVENT AND TREAT SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER
Legislation (S.5690/A.372) Prohibits Copayments For Treatment at Opioid Treatment Programs
Legislation (S.7378/A.8339) Requires the Department of Health To Publish Reports on the Department’s Website Detailing Sales of Opioids Sold in the State
Legislation (S.345/A.8419) This Legislation Requires the Office of Addiction Services and Supports To Develop Training Materials for Screening for Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency
Legislation (S.4640/A.273) Requires Doctors To Consider Non-Opioid Treatments Before Prescribing an Opioid for Patients Experiencing Pain
Legislation (S.8633/A.9697) Establishes A Program for Nightlife Establishments To Carry Opioid Antagonists and Authorize Training To Prevent Overdoses
Governor Hochul today signed a legislative package that will help New Yorkers prevent and treat substance use disorder.
“My Administration is committed to working every day to fight substance use disorder and providing New Yorkers with further access to lifesaving resources, services, and care,” Governor Hochul said. “I am proud to sign this legislative package into law which will support countless New Yorkers struggling with addiction and save lives.”
Legislation S.5690/A.372 prohibits copay from being added to opioid treatment programs. Opioid treatment programs require treatment up to 6 times a week for up for 90 days, with frequent visits afterwards. Often times, a co-pay is required by many offices for these almost-daily visits, and this becomes a prohibitively expensive treatment as those costs add up. Prohibiting these costs will make the lifesaving service more accessible to New Yorkers who need it.
State Senator Pete Harckham said, “Courageous people who seek treatment for opioid use disorder should not have to face financial hardship because of copayments. At their start, treatment programs often require daily care visits, and the costs associated with these frequent appointments can be onerous. Governor Hochul enacting the legislation I introduced to eliminate these copayments will support people during this critical juncture and save lives. I applaud the Governor for signing this important bill and for her leadership in addressing the Opioid Crisis.”
Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal said, “Frequent and burdensome co-pays should never create an impediment to anyone seeking treatment for a substance use disorder. With the continued loss of lives to preventable overdose each year in New York State, it is critical that medication assisted treatment be as accessible as possible. I thank Governor Hochul for signing this measure into law, thus removing co-pays for visits to opioid treatment programs for all who seek care, not just those who can afford it.”
Legislation S.7378/A.8339 requires the Department of Health to publish reports on the department’s website detailing sales of opioids sold in the state. This increased transparency will be used by support programs operated by the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS). Programs operated by OASAS include opioid treatment, recovery, prevention, education, and the I-STOP program. This legislation will provide information to the public regarding the budget’s “Opioid Stewardship Fund” in combating the opioid overdose crisis, by requiring the data collected to be publically available on the Department of Health’s website.
State Senator Pete Harckham said, “Right now, there is no public information regarding the annual opioid sales in New York that are supposed to finance, by law, the Opioid Stewardship Fund, and this new law will change that. We need greater transparency in areas like this to be able to gauge whether the law is being complied with, and whether the state’s treatment providers are getting the resources they deserve.”
Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas said, “Every opioid related death in New York is a policy failure. The Opioid Stewardship Act of 2019, which requires drug makers and distributors to cover costs for treatment, prevention, and recovery related to the opioid crisis, was an important step toward addressing this public health emergency. To ensure these drug makers and distributors meet their legal obligations, however, the State must report out data on opioid sales across New York. We need these reports to be made public. This is why New York needs A8339/S7378. Data transparency is fundamental to effective policy implementation, and with this law, New York can better hold private companies accountable. I thank Senator Harckham for his partnership on this legislation and Governor Hochul for signing it into law.”
Legislation S.345/A.8419 will require the Office of Addiction Services and Supports to develop training materials for screening for alcoholism and chemical dependency. This will require the agency to utilize the evidence-based practice model known as Screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) to identify behavioral patterns with at-risk substance users and in identifying those who are in need of more extensive, specialized treatment. The SBIRT model is used in many primary health care settings such as hospitals, outpatient clinics and private physician offices. This legislation will allow SBIRT to be used beyond the emergency room. By developing training materials, qualified health professionals can help to prepare health professionals to better respond to the challenges faced by substance users.
State Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “As we continue to fight the addiction crisis here in New York, it’s critical that we empower health professionals with the tools they need to help someone who might be struggling and help them to get the care that they need. By developing tools to screen more New Yorkers for addiction, and by connecting those individuals to treatment services, we can help more of our neighbors to break the cycle and live their lives free from the influence of harmful substances.”
Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz said, “The implementation of screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) in primary health care settings such as hospitals, outpatient clinics and private physician offices will allow for the early detection of risky alcohol and drug use. Applied as a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach it can result in early intervention, which helps to avert the serious and costly health consequences of undetected substance abuse.”
Legislation S.4640/A.273 requires doctors to consider non-opioid alternative treatments for patients experiencing pain before prescribing an opioid for pain relief. This will require both parties to discuss the alternatives before choosing an opioid prescription. Because opioids have become a common solution to pain treatment, one in four primary care patients experience some form of an opioid use disorder. By exploring all the options such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage therapy, or occupational therapy, the risks of opioid prescription, dependence, and overdose can be avoided.
State Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “In our ongoing battle against the opioid epidemic, we need to ensure that opioid prescriptions are not the only choice available to New Yorkers receiving pain treatment. I want to thank Governor Hochul for signing my bill, S.4640, into law, which will require both patients and doctors to consider available alternatives before choosing an opioid prescription. We must limit opioid prescriptions to necessary cases and instead get behind treatment options that support New Yorkers who need help with substance use.”
Assemblymember Richard N. Gottfried said, “Opioids are widely prescribed for treating pain. But those prescriptions may lead to addiction, and there are often safer, medically-appropriate alternative treatments available. Health care providers and patients will now be encouraged to consider these alternatives, such as physical or occupational therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, cognitive behavioral therapy, and non-opioid medications.”
Legislation S.8633-A/A.9697-A will create a program that allows nightlife establishments to carry opioid antagonists and receive training. This will include bars, clubs, and restaurants and require specific guidelines for nightlife establishments to make narcan, naloxone, and other FDA-recognized opioid overdose treatments available for use free of charge and provide training for the use of these antagonists and how to address those situations.
State Senator Leroy Comrie said, “We all have a responsibility to keep one another safe. By signing S 8633 into law, Governor Hochul upgrades nightlife establishments’ ability to keep New Yorkers safe. Opioid antagonists are life-saving treatment tools – by putting training and treatments in the hands of nightlife employees, we act to combat the menace of overdose deaths in New York. Thanks to Governor Hochul, my colleagues in the legislature, and all those working to advance care, treatment, and put more New Yorkers in a position to intervene in preventing an overdose from becoming fatal.”
Assemblymember Judy Griffin said, “I am so proud to close out 2022 with the signing of this vital legislation. Once enacted, this measure has the potential to save lives across New York State. With the ever-increasing rise of fentanyl-laced drugs, people can unexpectedly overdose in a matter of minutes. Statistics show that overdoses more frequently occur at nightlife establishments and by creating this public-private partnership between the state and willing nightlife establishments, we can spare families from the devastating heartache of losing a loved one to an overdose. These tragic deaths are preventable, and we have conscientious local business owners across Long Island and throughout New York State who are eager to be equipped with training and resources that will enable them to assume a role in these crucial lifesaving minutes. This legislation was inspired by a successful pilot program in Brooklyn, and I applaud the recent passage of a similar law by the New York City Council. I thank my committed legislative partner Senator Leroy Comrie, the diverse coalition of my Assembly colleagues who cosponsored A.9697-A, and Governor Kathy Hochul for her deeply personal commitment to combating the scourge of opioid addiction and directing resources and services to prevent overdoses. If you or a family member are struggling with addiction, especially this holiday season, there is help available 24/7 by calling 1-877-8-HOPENY or texting 467369. Please know you are not alone: there are amazing service providers bringing hope to our fellow New Yorkers and their families every single day, and I deeply appreciate their commitment to seeing this lifesaving bill through to law.”