Cuomo Releases Recommendations To Combat Heroin, Opioid Abuse
ByClaire HughesAlbany Times Union June 9, 2016
ALBANY — The Governor’s Heroin and Opioids Task Force, created last month, issued a report Thursday with 25 recommendations for combating the abuse of the illicit and prescription drugs in New York.
The report follows a statewide listening tour by the Task Force, co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. It comes as the legislative session is winding down to its final days.
The Task Force was created in response to an epidemic of heroin and opioid abuse that has resulted in a rising number of deaths in recent years. Aseparate reportreleased Thursday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli showed deaths from heroin and prescription narcotic overdoses reached record highs statewide in 2014, and rose faster over the previous decade than in most other states in the nation. About 2,300 New Yorkers died in 2014 due to drug overdose.
Key recommendations, which fall under the general categories of prevention, treatment, recovery and enforcement, include:
- Mandating training for doctors and other prescribers on pain management and addiction;
- Reducing the supply for first-time prescriptions for opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone, for acute pain, from 30 days to seven;
- Requiring pharmacists educate consumers about prescription opioids;
- Mandating that insurers use objective, state-approved criteria when making coverage determinations for necessary inpatient treatment;
- Eliminating prior authorization by insurance companies for needed inpatient stays and medications like buprenorphine (Suboxone) and naltrexone (Vivitrol) to treat addiction;
- Expanding access to the overdose-reversal medication naloxone, known as Narcan,
by providing insurance coverage for family members and permitting certain professionals to administer the medication in emergency situation;
- Increasing inpatient treatment beds and outpatient treatment program slots;
- Expanding supports for addicts in recovery from drug addiction, including recovery community centers and youth clubhouses; and
- Adding fentanyl, a synthetic opioid sometimes combined with heroin, to the state’s list of controlled substances.
A proposal to establishrecovery high schools, which had been under discussion, did not make it to the formal list of recommendations.