Hochul signs package of bills to help prevent and treat substance use disorder

Posted 23 December 2022 at 12:42 pm

Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office   

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,” 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.
  • 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 publicly available on the Department of Health’s website.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.