State lawmakers on Tuesday approved a package of four bills meant to combat substance abuse issues in New York, providing a better path for funding and boosting research efforts.
The measures come amid concerns of rising substance abuse and addiction issues in New York more than a year into the upheaval and crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Overdose deaths over the last year are on the rise in the state and around the country.
“The approved bills will make sure treatment providers aren’t penalized for receiving federal funds during the pandemic, and also push the state to compile and disseminate useful data on overdoses," said Sen. Peter Hackham, a Democrat who sponsored the measures in his chamber. "Additionally, residents entering nursing homes and assisted care will be asked about their veteran status to get them the right kind of care; and lake associations will get much-needed help in reducing contaminants.”
The bills include a measure that would require any federal grant received by or used by a substance use disorder treatment provided during the pandemic won't consider the money a source of revenue. The move would allow providers to use the grant funding to cover increased costs as a result of the pandemic.
Another bill would require the state Department of Health to gather data on non-fatal overdoses. Lawmakers also approved a bill that requires all intake forms for admission and residency at nursing homes in the state or assisted living residences and homeless shelters to collect information on an applicant's veteran status.
The provision is meant to better track whether veterans are receiving the benefits they deserve.