The Hudson Valley, like most places across the country, has been rocked with a heroin epidemic. A bold plan was announced to help battle the crisis.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposed multi-faceted proposal to combat every angle of the heroin and opioid crisis in New York State.

"New York has made great strides in combatting the devastating epidemic of heroin and opioid addiction, but this crisis continues and we must continue to do everything in our power to combat each facet of this complex health emergency,” Cuomo said. "This multipronged plan addresses each component of heroin and opioid addiction – prevention, treatment, and recovery – in order to help break this cycle of misery and save lives."

The six-point plan hopes to:

  • Eliminate prior authorization requirements to make substance use disorder treatment available to all
  • Add fentanyl analogs to the New York controlled substances schedule to subject emerging synthetic drugs to criminal drug penalties
  • Increase access to life-saving buprenorphine treatment by recruiting health care providers to become prescribers.
  • Establish 24/7 crisis treatment centers to ensure access to critical support services
  • Require emergency department prescribers to consult the Prescription Monitoring Program registry to combat “doctor shopping"
  • Create New York's first recovery high schools to help young people in recovery finish school

Eliminate Prior Authorization Requirements to Make Substance Use Disorder Treatment Available to All

Cuomo proposes expanding on the legislation signed in June 2016 to eliminate insurance prior authorization for inpatient treatment to include outpatient treatment.

Add Fentanyl Analogs to the New York Controlled Substances Schedule to Subject Emerging Synthetic Drugs to Criminal Drug Penalties

To get fentanyl off the streets, Cuomo calls for the subjecting fentanyl analogs and drug penalties and adding eight variations of the substance into the New York controlled substances schedule, which would subject them to criminal drug penalties.

Increase Access to Life-Saving Buprenorphine Treatment by Recruiting Health Care Providers to Become Prescribers

To increase access to this highly effective treatment, the plan calls for the Department of Health to recruit more doctors, physician’s assistants, and nurse practitioners to become buprenorphine prescribers. More regional training will be offered so providers can become registered.

Establish 24/7 Crisis Treatment Centers to Ensure Access to Critical Support Services

Cuomo will direct the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to develop ten 24/7 urgent access centers with crisis intervention on-call services, one in each region of the state.

The centers will provide individuals in crisis with access to clinical staff who will perform assessments and level of care determinations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and connect individuals to care immediately.

Require Emergency Department Prescribers to Consult the Prescription Monitoring Program Registry to Combat “Doctor Shopping"

Patient prescription histories contain critical information for healthcare providers to prevent or identify addiction to opioid painkillers. However, certain health care providers are exempt from the requirement to check the PMP before writing a prescription.
To address this important gap, Governor Cuomo will advance legislation amending the 2012 law, to require the use of the Registry before controlled substances are prescribed in the emergency department of a general hospital.

Create New York's First Recovery High Schools to Help Young People in Recovery Finish School

Cuomo hopes to create New York’s first recovery high schools in regions of the State hit especially by the disease of addiction. Boards of Cooperative Educational Services will submit proposals to the Office for Alcoholism and Substance Abuse to establish the first schools, one upstate and one downstate, in partnership with local social service agencies. The new schools will be operated by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services, which are funded by sponsoring school districts. Enrollment will be open to all high school students with a diagnosis of a substance abuse disorder and a commitment to recovery.

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