Friends of Recovery – New York attended the Governor’s 2018 State of the State Address on January 3. The State of the State book may be accessed by clicking here. We are very pleased that reversing the opioid epidemic was stated multiple times in the address as well as other issues of importance to the recovery community including—reforms in housing and criminal justice; implementing prevention strategies for young people; enhancing the nonprofit workforce and expanding telehealth services. The mere admittance that there is a drug overdose problem in New York State, exemplifies the advocacy work of recovery warriors throughout the state. It is of utmost importance that the recovery community is informed of the components of the State of the State so we know what is being proposed and what we need to continue to demand as a recovery community. Below is an outline of what the recovery community should know.

The State of the State. What you should know:

(1) Protecting the Health of our communities: Proposal: Reverse the Opioid Epidemic (Pages 239-244)

This section of the State of the State lays out a five point plan to reverse the Opioid Epidemic. The proposal calls to:
(1) Hold Pharmaceutical companies accountable for negligence by taking legal action against wrongdoers and allocating any funding gathered to resolving the opioid epidemic.
(2) Limiting opioid prescriptions in order to prevent addiction of consumers.
(3) Eliminating insurance barriers to treatment and recovery services by limiting requirements for prior authorization and co-payments for outpatient addiction treatment.
(4) Governor Cuomo will also direct several State agencies to implement regulatory and policy reforms that increase access to substance use disorder services including the creation of 250 Certified Peer Recovery Advocates to assist our efforts to engage New Yorkers in seeking treatment and sustaining their recovery after treatment.
(5) Increasing penalties on illegal distribution of the drug fentanyl in order to crack down on dealers and aid in efforts to prevent the spread of deadly new drugs as they emerge.

Other sections in the State of the State are also of importance to FOR-NY and are included in our policy statement:

(2) Criminal Justice Reform (See Pages 64-66): Minimizing economic and social barriers for individuals leaving the criminal justice system including the proposal to remove outdated statutory bans on occupational licensing for professions outside of law enforcement and instead require agencies to assess applicants on an individualized basis. This is an issue that has been brought up in our Recovery Talks Community Listening Forums.
(3) Ending Homelessness (See pages 80-81): The Governor seeks to strengthen shelter services for people with addiction.
(4) Continuing Prevention Services (See pages 122-123): The Governor seeks to continue the NYS Mentoring program, a program that is proven to help prevent youth from using alcohol and other drugs.

For more information, please contact the FOR-NY Policy Director, Allison Weingarten.