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New York is dealing with an addiction and overdose crisis: What can lawmakers do to stop it?

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  • Staff Report 

New York is facing a growing issue of addiction and a record number of overdoses, prompting lawmakers to explore ways to address this pressing issue. This week, key legislation was advanced by the state Senate panel, with the support of Democratic Senator Nathalia Fernandez, who chairs the Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

Senator Fernandez expressed her excitement about this legislative session and the transformative bills that will tackle the root causes of addiction and substance abuse in the state. She emphasized the importance of providing relief and solutions to the residents of New York who are struggling.

The bills aim to expand treatment programs and support service providers, including requiring substance abuse disorder treatment facilities to have at least one practitioner trained to administer or prescribe buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid addiction. Hospitals will also be required to refer patients to service providers for substance abuse treatment when appropriate.

Moreover, a certified recovery task force will be created to establish best practices for certified recovery living residences to support individuals recovering from chemical dependency. With the state health officials reporting a historic rise in overdose deaths in recent years, including during the COVID pandemic, the legislation is aimed at improving the overall support for those struggling with addiction.

The state of New York is also making a significant investment in addressing this issue, as millions of dollars from settlement funds will be used to create low-threshold buprenorphine services for service providers, according to the recent announcement by Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration. The commitment to combating addiction and providing comprehensive support to those affected is evident in the state’s efforts to improve its approach to this pressing issue.