NY’s ‘Most Aggressive Actions to Combat the Opioid Crisis of Any Other State’ Pay Off

Nancy Grover

Albany, NY (WorkersCompensation.com) – Opioid deaths in New York hit a historical low in 2018. Gov. Cuomo announced that preliminary data for the state outside of New York City show the first decrease in opioid deaths in a decade.

“New York’s first reduction in opioid overdose deaths in over ten years is an important milestone and demonstrates our work to combat this deadly scourge is working,” Governor Cuomo said. “And while New York has taken the most aggressive actions to combat the opioid crisis of any other state in the country, the opioid epidemic continues to devastate too many families and we will not rest until we put an end to it once and for all.”

The death rate attributed to opioids in New York last year was 1,824, representing a 15.9 percent decline from the 2,170 deaths in 2017. The preliminary State health Department data, which covers areas outside New York City, also showed hospitalizations for opioid-related overdoses decreased 7.1 percent, from 3,260 in 2017 to 3,029 in 2018.

Cuomo attributed the positive news to efforts by the New York State Heroin and Opioid Task Force, which he convened in 2016. Among its recommendations that authorities believe have contributed to the lower opioid death rate are:

  • An Increase in Treatment Capacity across New York State, with 500 new treatment beds made available
  • Expanded access to such things as crisis services and inpatient, outpatient and residential treatment programs
  • Expanded peer services, mobile treatment and telehealth, and targeted prevention services and recovery supports through made available by federal and state targeted response grants.
  • Increased efforts to integrate medication assisted treatment in primary care health facilities and hospitals, resulting in an increase of nearly 47 percent in the number of people who received buprenorphine prescriptions from 2012 to 2018
  • Additional recovery centers which provide professional staff, peers and volunteers to help people in their recoveries

The state has also sought to remove insurance barriers that prevented people from seeking treatment, including the elimination of prior insurance approvals for inpatient treatment.

“Through the implementation of innovative programs, we have increased access to treatment; improved support for those in recovery; expanded awareness of heroin and opioid addiction; and enhanced statewide prevention efforts,” said Office of Addiction Services and Supports Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez, in a statement. “As there is more work to be done, we will continue taking aggressive actions to ensure that New Yorkers affected by this disease are protected.”

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