Albany, NY – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced the final report and recommendations from the Heroin and Opioid Task Force – a diverse group of experts in healthcare, advocacy, education, law enforcement, as well as parents and New Yorkers in recovery – charged with developing a comprehensive plan to combat the state’s heroin and opioid epidemic.
The Task Force’s key recommendations include mandating prescriber education on pain management and addiction, reducing the number of days for first-time opioid prescriptions for acute pain from 30 to seven, requiring consumer education on prescription opioids, increasing public outreach and awareness, eliminating prior authorization for needed inpatient treatments and medications to treat addiction, expanding access to overdose-reversal medication, increasing treatment beds and opioid treatment program slots, expanding access to spaces and supports for individuals in recovery, and updating the controlled substances schedule.
“After listening to community leaders and experts, the Task Force has put forward important, sensible recommendations that include increasing outreach and awareness, mandating prescriber education requirements and expanding access to treatment programs” Governor Cuomo said. “These recommendations will build on this administration’s aggressive efforts and serve as a comprehensive blueprint to end this epidemic and save lives across New York.”
The Task Force was co-chaired by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez.
“At Governor Cuomo’s direction, I am proud to co-lead this Task Force as we crisscrossed the state and listened to the heartbreaking stories of people whose lives were shattered by this public health crisis,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Co-Chair of the Task Force. “Today, we set forth an aggressive response, attacking from all angles — providing tighter controls on prescriptions along with improved access to treatment. Once signed into law, New York State will be a model for the rest of the nation to follow.”
“Through this comprehensive package of measures, we are leading the way in pushing back against the rise in heroin and prescription opioid addiction that continues to plague our state and country,” said Heroin Task Force Co-Chair, NYS OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “The Task Force report announced today builds upon our aggressive efforts to curb this epidemic and enables us to take those efforts to the next level. With input from members of the Heroin Task Force and community members all around the state, these changes will make addiction treatment more easily accessible, ensure insurance coverage for substance use disorder care, and support statewide prevention and recovery efforts.”
The Task Force held two executive meetings and eight listening sessions across the state. From Brooklyn to Buffalo, they heard from health care providers, family support groups, educators, law enforcement officials, and community members. Hundreds of New Yorkers submitted comments via www.ny.gov/herointaskforce.
To address the root causes of the current epidemic, improve access to life-saving treatment and medications, and expand supports for individuals in recovery and their families, the Task Force made 25 recommendations, including:
- Remove insurance barriers to inpatient treatment by eliminating prior approval for admission for necessary medical care as long as such inpatient treatment is needed.
- Mandate that insurers use an objective, state-approved criteria when making coverage determinations for necessary inpatient treatment.
- Increase the number of treatment beds and program slots for substance use disorder across the state.
- Mandate prescribers to complete ongoing education on pain management, palliative care, and addiction.
- Limit opiate prescriptions for acute pain from 30-days to no more than a 7-day supply, with exceptions for chronic pain and other conditions.
- Mandate that pharmacists educate consumers on the risks associated with prescription opioids.
- Expand access to lifesaving overdose-reversal medication by providing insurance coverage for family members and permitting certain licensed professionals to administer the medication in emergency situations without risk to their license.
All 25 recommendations are available here: NY Heroin & Opioid Task Force Report (PDF)
Source: NY Governor’s Office