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New Law in New York Could Help Control Heroin & Opioid Deaths

New York is having a tough time with heroin and other opiate overdoses. On 22 July of this year, Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) into law. But it can’t be put into action yet because Congress hasn’t provided the money. In the mean time, people are dying.

CARA was passed in the Senate on March 10, 2016 – by the very healthy vote of 94-1, and includes expansion of drug addiction prevention and education as well as promoting treatment and recovery.

29 people per 100,000 – that’s more than 750 – died in Brooklyn from heroin overdoses between 2009 and 2013 – and nearly 2,500 died from overdoses of other opiates, like  OxyContin, hydrocodone-based pills, and other opiate painkiller. Currently, the New York Health Department says someone in the New York City is dying every other day from a drug overdose.

CARA is supposed to fund several programs:

  • Recovery community organizations: The funds will be used to conduct public education and outreach, as well as strengthening the network of community support.
  • National Youth Initiative: This initiative builds communities of support for young people in recovery in high school and higher education.
  • Save Lives with Overdose Response: Increases education about and availability of naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of overdose if given in time.
  • Reduction of collateral consequences of conviction: In addition to going to prison, fines, probation and so on, there are a number of other consequences associated with criminal convicntion that not a lot o people know about. Like losing your voting rights, being deported (even though you may be a lawful permanent resident), losing a professional license, inability to get student loans and public funds like welfare, and so on.
  • Treatment for opioid and heroin addiction, and more.

The last item – treatment for opioid and heroin addiction – is of special interest to Warren Zysman, CEO of ACI Chemical Dependency Treatment Center in Manhattan. “One of the biggest problems is there’s no way for people to gain access to the necessary treatment,” he said.

Hopefully, Congress will fund this soon. If any of the initiatives CARA will fund would help you or someone you know, keep an eye out for when it goes into action so you can get the help you need.

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