May 11, 2016—New York, NY—The Legal Action Center praised the formation of a new task force announced by Governor Cuomo on May 10th to address the growing heroin and prescription opioid epidemic in New York State.
The task force will provide recommendations to assist the state in its efforts to expand awareness, foster prevention efforts and increase access to treatment and recovery programs. Co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the task force will include health care and drug policy experts, advocates, educators, parents and those recovering from opioid addiction.
“As an epidemic of opioid and prescription drug addiction continues to hurt New Yorkers from all walks of life, we welcome the new task force and look forward to working with it,” said LAC Director/President Paul Samuels. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has been a national leader in reforming health care and criminal justice systems in order to give people with addictions the treatment they desperately need. We hope and expect the new task force to build on this progress.”
Mr. Samuels recommended that the task force include a focus on ensuring that New York State’s insurance and managed care plans obey federal and state parity laws that require addiction treatment, including addiction medications, be covered equally with other medical treatments.