Governor Signs Bill by Senator Hinchey to Strengthen DOH Reporting on Alcohol Overdose Crisis

Michelle Hinchey

January 25, 2022

Hinchey Bill Marks First-Time Effort by NYS DOH to Adopt Comprehensive Approach to Examine Alcohol Overdoses Statewide

ALBANY, NYSenator Michelle Hinchey today announced that her bill mandating the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) to expand its data collection on alcohol overdoses has been signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul. The legislation (S6571) directs the DOH, in collaboration with the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) and local health care providers, to collect county-level data on alcohol overdoses statewide and share these findings on an annual basis to ascertain which areas of the state are experiencing high rates of excessive alcohol poisoning and the response efforts needed. The bill also requires the DOH to submit a comprehensive report to the State Legislature on or before October first of each year to help direct further budgetary and legislative action.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that alcohol is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States and is responsible for more than 95,000 deaths each year, or 261 deaths per day. The signing of Hinchey’s bill marks a first-time effort by the DOH to adopt a more extensive approach to studying alcohol overdoses, including fatalities, in all New York counties by requiring the following data to be gathered and publicized: local-level information on excessive alcohol consumption, overdoses and overdose deaths, emergency room utilization for alcohol overdose treatment, the utilization of pre-hospital services, the geographic location of overdoses, and the age, gender and ethnicity of patients.

“This legislation responds to the dire need for a comprehensive county-level examination of alcohol overdoses, which does not currently exist in New York State,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey. “COVID-19 has fueled an increase in alcohol use disorder across our country, and despite the urgency to address this consequence of the pandemic, studies have shown that by and large, alcohol fatalities and overdoses are vastly overlooked and underreported. The new reporting mechanisms that this bill creates will deliver the information New York needs to more effectively respond to the alcohol overdose crisis and save lives in our communities, and I thank Governor Hochul for signing it into law.”

Senator Michelle Hinchey represents the 46th Senate District, which includes Greene and Montgomery Counties and parts of Albany, Schenectady, and Ulster Counties. Senator Hinchey serves as Chair of the Agriculture Committee and sits on the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation, Energy and Telecommunications, Environmental Conservation, and Local Government Committees.