Cuomo: Expand help for heroin addiction, limit prescriptions
Photo Courtesy of NJTV
Limited opioid prescriptions, greater funding for addiction treatment and more support for people trying to stay clean: those are some of the proposals for attacking New York's heroin and opioid problem released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday.
The 25 recommendations come from a task force convened by the Democratic governor to find ways to address the rise in addiction and overdoses. Lawmakers and Cuomo hope to pass a comprehensive approach to the problem before the Legislature adjourns for the year next week.
"Overcoming the epidemic of heroin and prescription opioid abuse requires that we confront this public health problem from several angles at once," said state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. "Our goals are to prevent people from becoming addicted in the first place, while treating and assisting those who are already trapped in the cycle of abuse."
Included in the recommendations:
-New rules that would limit prescriptions for acute pain management to seven days.
-Changes to insurance regulations to make it easier for addicts to afford treatment.
-Mandatory training on addiction and pain management for doctors who prescribe opioids.
-Greater access to medications that can reverse overdoses.
The Legislature included $166 million for programs to fight heroin and opioid addiction in the recently passed state budget. The plan now being crafted by lawmakers and Cuomo will determine how that money is spent.
A report issued Thursday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found that a record 825 New Yorkers died from heroin-related overdoses in 2014, almost 10 times the number from a decade earlier. Another 1,008 died from overdoses related to prescription opioids, nearly four times as many as in 2005.