New York Takes Step to Curb Abuse of Opiates

nygovAll throughout the country, there is a Then lawmakers decided that sending people home with that many narcotics was dangerous, and limited the supply to thirty days. Now the New York State Assembly and Governor Cuomo have decided that a week’s supply is sufficient in most cases. The idea is that patients who have a legitimate prescription for opiates need to protect themselves and their families by only having a small amount of the painkillers in their home.

Public officials hope that this would prevent accidental or intentional overdoses or theft of the pills by family members or friends. It would also reduce the number of pills being prescribed overall and deter some forms of prescription drug fraud.

This new mandate is part of a larger piece of legislation that covers several different aspects of opiate addiction. One item that passed with the bill is coverage for naloxone. This means that insurance providers will be required to provide benefits for naloxone for addicts or families of addicts. Naloxone is a drug that, when administered shortly after an opiate overdose, can reverse the effects and has already proven it can help save lives. Another provision is to automatically approve coverage for 14 days of treatment, rather than the 7 or 10 that was previously the minimum.

Additional measures include providing more education about opiate addiction to doctors, as prescribing habits have been one of the reasons for the boom in this type of substance abuse. Physicians who are better able to recognize and deal with such problems can be extremely beneficial in helping to save lives as well rather than continuing to be unaware of the substance abuse they may be fueling.

While the bill is a positive step forward, some people are calling for even more action. “The heroin bill is just more of a beginning. There’s a lot of things the governor said he’ll do administratively. This is a growing epidemic that’s hitting all segments of the community. The heroin bill is just a beginning,” commented Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

Of course addiction cannot be legislated out of existence, but for many treatment professionals it is refreshing to see policy makers taking this seriously and doing their part to assist. If you have a loved one in New York struggling with an addiction to painkillers or heroin, contact Genesis House now to see how we can help.