New Legislation Establishes Program for Medication Assisted Treatment in County Jails
Brings the Total OASAS Funding for Local Jails to $8.81 Million
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the availability of $5 million in additional funding to provide Substance Use Disorder (SUD) services to incarcerated individuals as part of a new bill mandating County Jails to offer Medication Assisted Treatment services in correctional settings.
"This bill is an important tool as we fight substance abuse and the opioid crisis," Governor Hochul said. "By providing Substance Use Disorder services to incarcerated individuals in both state and local correctional settings, individuals will have the opportunity to treat their addiction and return to healthy and productive lives."
The new legislation mandates the establishment of programs to provide medication assisted treatment (MAT) for incarcerated individuals in state and local correctional facilities. Expanding, MAT across state and local facilities will allow incarcerated individuals access to medications and therapies to provide them the opportunity to treat their addiction, lessening the likelihood that they may suffer a drug-related overdose upon their reentry into society.
This additional funding will assist local jails in establishing various treatment services including: MAT, screening, assessment, clinical services, peer services, case management and other services as appropriate. New funding brings the total to $8.81 million for local jails provided by the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) to treat SUD in correctional settings.
Funding amounts for each county will be based on the size of their jail population. Counties will have the flexibility to determine the best use of the funding. Counties may contract for direct clinical and peer services, cover the costs associated with providing MAT to incarcerated individuals, and help with case management/post release services. The counties will submit their plan to OASAS for approval.
Senator Jamaal Bailey said, "In order to truly turn the tide on the opioid crisis, we must treat it like the public health emergency it is and do everything in our power to ensure help reaches those in greatest need. For far too long, New York's criminal justice system has been painfully overlooked in efforts to combat the opioid crisis that has ravaged communities in the Bronx and across the state. We are taking a historic step to establish a comprehensive care model and expand access to lifesaving treatment for incarcerated New Yorkers struggling with substance use. This funding will save countless lives, close the equity gap in health care access for incarcerated individuals, reduce recidivism, and help individuals return to their communities whole. I want to thank Governor Hochul for signing this piece of legislation and the Office of Addiction Services and Support for providing additional funding to address this crisis."
Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal said, "No person battling a Substance Use Disorder should be left without access to lifesaving treatment, incarcerated or not. By signing my legislation into law mandating medication assisted treatment in all state and local correctional facilities, New York State has signaled that addiction should be treated as a public health issue, not a moral one. This additional funding that has been allocated by the Governor to our local jails will help to implement robust treatment programs quickly that will save countless lives."
Chair of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Senator Pete Harckham said, "Fighting the overdose crisis in New York must include making medication-assisted treatment available for incarcerated individuals in correctional facilities statewide and providing them with recovery programs and services. I applaud Governor Hochul and bill sponsors Senator Bailey and Assembly member Rosenthal for expanding this effective mode of treatment for opioid addiction, knowing that the health of incarcerated residents is the state's responsibility."
Chair of the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Assemblymember Phil Steck said, "I was pleased to co-sponsor this bill that would allow incarcerated individuals with certain Substance Use Disorders the opportunity to participate in a medication assisted treatment program; a better avenue for the men and women facing addiction. Thank you to the sponsors and to Governor Hochul for recognizing the importance of these services."
Over the past several years, New York State has instituted an aggressive, multi-pronged approach to addressing the opioid epidemic, and created a nation-leading continuum of addiction care with full prevention, treatment, and recovery services. To combat this epidemic, the state has worked to expand access to traditional services, including crisis services, inpatient, outpatient, and residential treatment programs, as well as medication assisted treatment, and mobile treatment and transportation services.
Governor Hochul was a member of the NYS Heroin and Opioid Task Force, which in 2016, recommended new, non-traditional services, including recovery centers, youth clubhouses, expanded peer services, and open access centers, which provide immediate assessments and referrals to care. These services have since been established in numerous communities around the state and have helped people in need access care closer to where they live.
New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state's toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).
Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, residential, or outpatient care can be found using the NYS OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard at FindAddictionTreatment.ny.gov or through the NYS OASAS website.
If you, or a loved one, have experienced insurance obstacles related to treatment or need help filing an appeal for a denied claim, contact the CHAMP helpline by phone at 888-614-5400 or email at [email protected].