FOR-NY is concerned that well-intentioned supporters of the recovery community in the legislature are prioritizing criminal penalties over proven programs for prevention, treatment and recovery for Substance Use Disorder.

The proposed new opioid related penalties currently being negotiated in exchange for much needed bail reforms would roll back humane drug reform that has enabled people to step out of the shadows, and seek help for their illness.

While reform of the bail system is important, tying such reform to new criminal penalties for opioid users is unwise and cause many that would seek treatment to hide instead in the shadow world of addiction.

Our friends in the Legislature can step up and push for a permanent vehicle that would create a dedicated revenue stream to support prevention, treatment and recovery services not just for this year, but for years to come.

We have learned that “we can’t arrest our way out of this epidemic.” But criminalization of use would do that and move the state backward towards failed drug policies that contributed to the current health crisis.

The legislature should address this health crisis with additional funding for prevention, treatment and recovery support services and workforce development.

This year the legislature can enact a dedicated and permanent revenue stream to fund prevention, treatment and recovery services.

We implore the legislature to stay in session and enact legislation that will directly address and help eradicate this health emergency, funding for proving prevention, treatment and recovery services.

When referring to the heroin and opioid addiction crisis in his State of the State message the Governor said:  “The time for action is now, before we lose another single life.”

The Governor was right, the time for action is now!  If additional funding is not provided it is a certainty that more lives will be lost.

Friends of Recovery – New York (FOR-NY) is dedicated to eliminating negative public perception, ending discrimination and removing barriers to recovery. We support the expansion of prevention, treatment and recovery support services for individuals and families impacted by addiction. We seek public policies that treat addiction as a public health issue, rather than a criminal justice issue. We promote improved outcomes for those in treatment and recovery with a history of criminal justice involvement.  We call for the removal of barriers that make it difficult for individuals with criminal records to access treatment, sustain recovery and have the same opportunity for housing, employment, healthcare, and education as other New Yorkers.  Additionally, we know that those leaving the criminal justice system or mandatory rehabilitation must be supported with MAT whenever needed in order to maximize sustained recovery outcomes and prevent overdose upon re-entry in the community.