Senators George Amedore, Fred Akshar, and Chris Jacobs, co-Chairs of the Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, today announced a series of forums that will be held throughout the state to continue to examine the issues faced by the state due to increased heroin and opioid abuse.
The forums will be held in Johnstown, Buffalo, and Long Island, and are designed to give Task Force members the opportunity to solicit input from stakeholders in the community -- including providers, law enforcement, educators, and family members -- in order to formulate further recommendations for legislative action.
“We have made great progress defining New York State as a leader in the fight against addiction in our communities, but there is still much more work to be done. These hearings will give the Task Force the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the measures that have been taken in recent years, and also to continue to gather input from stakeholders about the steps we should be taking next to continue our efforts to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic,” said Senator George Amedore.
"Last year we achieved real, tangible results for New York families in our fight against the heroin and opioid epidemic. We did that through traveling the state and sharing meaningful conversations with stakeholders fighting this epidemic at the ground level. It's time to continue the work that we've started and make sure our communities have what they need to successfully combat this epidemic from every angle," said Senator Fred Akshar.
“The New York State Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction has been a driving force in developing policy and allocating resources in the fight against this deadly epidemic,” said Senator Chris Jacobs. “The forums we will be hosting across the State will allow us to continue gathering critical information from stakeholders that will enable us to assess the effectiveness of our efforts and develop strategies to maximize outcomes for those impacted by this public health crisis.”
"I'm pleased the Task Force will be holding these public forums, especially here on Long Island where heroin and opioid overdoses are killing people in record numbers. Law enforcement officers, treatment providers, educators and far too many families are on the front lines battling this epidemic every single day. Getting their input about what additional steps are necessary is vital in developing the comprehensive action this crisis demands," said Senator Elaine Phillips.
2017 Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction Schedule:
Wednesday, May 24th, 3:00 pm, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Union Building, Room U104, 2805 State Route 67, Johnstown, NY 12095
Wednesday, July 12th, 8:00 am, Erie Community College - City Campus, Minnie Gillette Auditorium, 121 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, New York 14203
Wednesday, July 19th, 4:00 pm, Village of Mineola Board Room, 155 Washington Avenue, Mineola, NY 11501
Additional hearings will be announced in the fall.
Based on recommendations put forth last year by the Task Force, a comprehensive package of bills was signed into law to address the heroin and addiction crisis in New York State by providing addiction prevention, access to treatment, and support for New Yorkers in recovery. Highlights of the legislative package included continuing education for prescribers, limits on initial prescriptions of opioids for acute pain, and the creation of a narcan database to help track overdose reversals. Other measures removed insurance barriers by removing prior authorization requirements for treatment and expanding coverage and access to naloxone.
Last year’s state budget included $189 million in funding to help address the challenges caused by increased heroin and opioid abuse in communities throughout New York State. This included an increase of $25 million above the Executive’s proposal that was advocated for by the Task Force to support additional prevention, treatment, and recovery services including adolescent clubhouses, family navigators, on-call peer support, community recovery centers, additional treatment beds, and supportive housing units.
This year, the Senate’s Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction is continuing its work addressing the drug epidemic by securing $214 million in this year’s budget – a record-high level of funding that will be used to strengthen prevention, treatment, recovery and education services across the state.