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   Task Force on Heroin Addiction and Community Response

THE PROBLEM

As a result of the heroin crisis in New York State, Assembly Republican Leader Brian M. Kolb created the Assembly Minority Task Force on Heroin Addiction & Community Response. The Task Force held seven forums throughout the State to interview and gather information from those with firsthand experiences of the heroin epidemic and  better understand the effects of opioid addiction and its cost to families and communities. Task Force Chairman Joseph M. Giglio, Ranking Republican Member of the Committee on Correction, led these forums with numerous members of the Assembly Republican Conference in an attempt to construct common-sense solutions for this serious issue.

In January 2016, the Task Force released “The Heroin Use, Treatment, Prevention & Education Efforts in NYS,” which includes a plan to help combat opioid abuse. Members of the Task Force also introduced the following legislation designed to help overcome the challenges faced by families, service providers, and those suffering from opioid addiction:

 

  • Involuntary Admission of Substance Abusers (Marchman Act) – Enable family members to help their loved ones who are suffering from addiction by creating involuntary admission procedures through the courts (A.10478, Giglio).

  • Prescribing Guidelines – Require the Department of Health to establish limitations on the amount of certain Schedule II controlled substances, most notably opioids, which can be prescribed during the specific course of treatment (A.4778, Giglio).

  • Substance Use Disorder Treatment Mandate – Require insurance companies to cover at least seven days of detox treatment and 30 days of rehabilitation services for substance use disorders (A.4721, Giglio).

  • Presumption of Intent to Sell Heroin – Provide that possession of 30 or more individual packages of heroin or a heroin mixture is presumptive evidence of a person’s intent to sell it, thereby increasing the severity of the crime (A.3202, Raia).

  • Criminal Possession of Fentanyl – Create the class E felony of criminal possession of fentanyl, a highly addictive painkiller that has been linked to heroin overdoses, which is committed when a person knowingly or intentionally manufactures, distributes, dispenses, or possesses with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense fentanyl or any derivative (A.10477, Giglio).

  • Improve Operations of Sober Homes – Improve the operations of sober homes by requiring certification of sober homes and requiring inspections to ensure adequate conditions for individuals residing in in sober homes (A.10870, Smith).

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