• Need-to-Know News: Dec. 9, 2011

    December 09, 2011

    Updates from Us

    • The Legal Action Center has released a report, Legality of Denying Access to Medication Assisted Treatment in the Criminal Justice System, that explains why criminal justice agencies violate Federal anti-discrimination laws and the United States Constitution when they deny access to medications, such as methadone and burprenorphine, to treat opiate addiction. The report was written at the request of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD.), who, along with the Center, has a longstanding interest in expanding the use of these medications in criminal justice settings.

    Headlines on Our Issues

    State

    • Governor Cuomo signed tax reform legislation passed this week in a special session of the New York legislature. The deal is expected to raise $1.9 billion per year in new revenue by raising taxes on higher income earners, while reducing them for those with lower incomes. These changes will significantly reduce the projected deficits for next year, which had recently risen to $3.5 billion. The deal also includes a new $25 million tax credit to encourage employers to hire inner-city youth and $62 million for job training for youth in impoverished areas.
    • The New York State Department of Health held a webinar to provide an update on implementation of the Medicaid Health Homes initiative in New York. A summary of the webinar and links to key information can be found on the website of our partners at the New York State Association of Substance Abuse Providers.
    • In an editorial in the Huffington Post on World AIDS Day, Robert Doar, the Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration announced a new initiative aimed at forcing recipients of HIV/AIDS Services Administration benefits who the agency identifies as needing substance abuse treatment to follow a treatment plan created by the agency. The initiative would deny certain housing benefits to individuals who refuse to follow the agency's proposed treatment plan.
    • Residents of New York City's Financial District and the local Community Board are fighting efforts by Grammercy Park Services to move their methadone maintenance clinic into the neighborhood.
    National

    • This week, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) introduced the Rewriting to Improve and Secure an Exit Out of Poverty Act (the RISE Out of Poverty Act or the RISE Act), an overhaul of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant (TANF). Original co-sponsors include Reps. Danny Davis (D-IL), Edolphus Towns (D-NY), John Conyers (D-MI), Benny Thompson (D-MS), Donna M. Christensen (D-VI), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), Pete Stark (D-CA), Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), and Maxine Waters (D-CA). The bill's features include indexing for inflation between 1996 and today, as well as seeking to eliminate the ban against people with drug felony convictions. For more information on the National H.I.R.E. Network's state-level advocacy to end the drug felony ban, contact Liz Farid. For more information on the federal campaign to end the TANF ban, contact Mark O'Brien.
    • REMINDER: The funding deadline to apply for the federal Health Care Innovation Challenge is coming up. Letters of intent must be submitted by December 19th. To submit letters, click here
    • On NPR's Tell Me More, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis discussed the importance of reentry programs, as well as various federal initiatives to help individuals returning the community from incarceration to reenter successfully.
    • New data from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows a 430% increase in the number of individuals entering treatment for abuse of prescription painkillers between 1999 and 2009.

    From Our Partners

    • The Center for Court Excellence released a report examining how the formerly incarcerated fare in the DC job market which examines the issue from both the perspective of the job applicant and the employer.
    • The NYU Silver School of Social Work will be hosting a two-day conference on December 14th and 15th on substance abuse related issues, titled "Substance Use: Responding to Changes in Policy, Research, and Services."
    • The Community Service Society (CSS) will be hosting its monthly Reentry Roundtable on Wednesday, December 14 from 1PM-3PM at CSS's offices, located at 105 East 22nd Street in Manhattan.