FOR-NY 2017 Addiction Recovery Policy Statement

*FRIENDS OF RECOVERY – NEW YORK (FOR-NY) 1529 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12203 518-487-4395*

Friends of Recovery – New York (FOR-NY) is a state-wide Recovery Community Organization (RCO) working on behalf of millions of individuals and families in New York to educate decision makers and the general public about recovery from addiction. We are dedicated to eliminating stigma, ending discrimination and removing barriers to recovery including those that exist in treatment, housing, and employment; and we support the expansion of recovery support services for individuals and families. We call on the Governor and the NYS Legislature to take the following immediate actions to address the urgent addiction crisis in New York State:

Insurance Parity Enforced With Expanded Access to Addiction Treatment

Assembly Minority Task Force on Heroin Addiction and Community ResponseAlthough the Federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) was signed into law in 2008, the Affordable Care Act in 2010, and other access to treatment protections were codified in NY State in 2014 and 2016, individuals and families across New York State are still being denied life-saving addiction treatment because the laws are still not fully implemented or being enforced adequately. We urge the Governor and the NYS Legislature to work together to enforce insurance and parity laws in New York, and hold insurance companies accountable to the new laws, requiring unfettered access to 14 days of initial inpatient treatment. In addition, we call for increased funding for addiction treatment and recovery support services so that individuals receive care that is accessible, accountable, efficient, equitable, sustained and of the highest quality.

Treatment on Demand

It is unconscionable that individuals must wait days and even weeks on average before they can access sorely needed treatment. Insurers, providers, state and county government units must all work together with recovery community organizations to ensure that immediate access to treatment becomes the norm rather than the exception. Anyone in need, must have access to treatment on par with access for all other medical conditions upon request. To that end, all hospitals must be required to admit any individual into any available bed when presenting with a need for medically supervised withdrawal or stabilization services related to substance use disorder. These admissions are necessary to ensure safe, humane treatment and equal access to a hospital bed as with any other presenting, urgent, medical condition.

Addiction and Recovery Safeguards

Certification of Recovery Homes

We support a standardized certification of recovery homes. Individuals in early recovery must be protected and afforded a safe and supportive living environment. Regulations and supervision must be adopted within the parameters of the Federal Fair Housing Act in a manner that promotes integrity, ensures continuous quality improvement, upholds residents’ rights, are recovery-oriented, and conducive to optimum health and well-being.

Expand the Role of Peers for Individuals and Families

We support increased training to help peers access the education and training needed for certification and the expansion of employment opportunities for recovery coaches, peer advocates and family support navigators in all phases of the addiction to recovery continuum of care including: crisis centers, detox units, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient treatment, and community residences, as well as in supportive housing and at other recovery support service access points. Peers must be integrated at key points of contact in communities throughout the state.

Richard Buckman - Advocacy Day - 2016Establishment of Recovery High Schools and Recovery Collegiate Programs

We support the creation of secondary schools and collegiate programs designed specifically for students in recovery from addiction. Each school would educate students in recovery from addiction and co-occurring disorders, meet Department of Education standards for awarding secondary and higher education diplomas, and support students in developing a strong recovery foundation.

The effectiveness of recovery high schools in minimizing relapse and improving graduation rates is well documented and must be considered as we take a broad approach to combating addiction and preventing relapse in younger populations.

Evaluation, Assessment and Referral after Overdose Reversal

We support the creation of proactive interventions to assist those in crisis after receiving emergency Naloxone to reverse an opiate overdose. In most instances, no treatment intervention occurs (or any referral at all) and there are numerous reports of additional overdoses and in some cases, even death. Mechanisms for evaluation, in depth assessment, treatment referrals and warm handoffs to recovery coaches or peer advocates with access to other supports must be offered, implemented and made immediately available to help save lives. We support the implementation and expansion of the current peer engagement initiatives.

Treatment Regulations for People on Buprenorphine

We support enactment of regulations requiring concurrent counseling/treatment with the use of buprenorphine. Evidence-based research supports the critical need for people receiving Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) to have corresponding therapeutic support. A simple recommendation for addiction treatment as an adjunct to buprenorphine has proven insufficient therefore regulations must be adopted.

Improve Outcomes for Those in Treatment and Recovery with Current or Former Criminal Justice Involvement

We support the removal of barriers that make it difficult for individuals with criminal records to access treatment, sustain recovery and have the same access to housing, employment, healthcare, and education as other New Yorkers.

Asset Forfeiture Funds

We recommend that all asset forfeiture funds in the Chemical Dependence Service Fund (Section 97-W/State Finance Law) be allocated to OASAS and invested in the expansion of prevention, treatment, and recovery services. These funds should be dedicated for their intended purposes as described.

Opioid Addiction Treatment and Recovery Fee

We recommend a one cent fee on each milligram of an active opioid ingredient in pain medication. Money from this “permanent funding stream” would be used to provide and expand access to addiction treatment and recovery support services.

FOR-NY Recovery Advocacy Day 2017 Budget Recommendations

$45.25 million investment in Recovery Support Services Infrastructure is needed now!

Despite recent improvements, a glaring omission still remains in the treatment to recovery continuum; a lack of recovery support services following primary treatment. Friends of Recovery – New York (FOR-NY) asks for the immediate investment of $45.25 million to build a strong statewide network of local recovery support services for individuals, and families focused on minimizing relapse and maximizing the chances for sustained recovery. Use of peer advocates, recovery coaches and family support navigators must be broadly integrated at the local community level.

A Recovery Community and Outreach Center (RCOC) in Every County = $16.8 Million

Recovery Community and Outreach Centers are committed to supporting a person’s efforts to bolster recovery and prevent relapse, and when this occurs, the aim is a quick return to recovery. As a testament to this need, OASAS received more than 70 Letters of Intent for local RCOCs across the state in response to an RFP issued last year. With 12 RCOCs currently funded, we are asking for the remaining counties including all five NYC boroughs to receive their fair share.

A Recovery Community Organization (RCO) in Every County = $6.2 Million

Recovery Community Organizations are independent non-profits, led and governed by people in recovery, as well as their family members, friends and allies who mobilize resources within and outside of the recovery community to make it possible for people with the chronic disease of addiction to find and sustain long-term recovery. Each organization has a mission that reflects the particular issues and concerns of its local community. Each RCO will operate at $100,000.

A Recovery Youth Clubhouse in Every County = $13.25 Million

Recovery Youth Clubhouses (YCHs) offer a supportive, empowering setting to youth that promotes recovery and wellness while assisting young people in maintain their recovery. Physical activity, sports, nutrition, healthy living, recreation, community service, skill development and educational supports are among the many services that are provided to young people.

Peer Advocates and Recovery Coaches in Every County = $4.5 Million

Peer Advocates and Recovery Coaches are highly effective persons with lived experience in addiction and recovery who are trained to serve as mentors and guides. Coaches and Advocates typically work with individuals and families seeking recovery to help remove barriers, assist in navigating systems and connecting to needed resources, all of which result in reduced relapse and improved recovery outcomes. We propose two full-time Recovery Coaches for each RCO or RCOC in every county at $35,000 each.

Family Support Navigators in Every County = $4.5 Million

Family Support Navigators will be located in existing, neutral, non-clinical settings, including community-based resource centers, RCOC’s and directly attached to local RCO’s ($35,000 per navigator with two per county) to provide information, referrals, insurance navigation, treatment options, recovery support services, family education, and family recovery support – for the family unit as the primary client.

  • Recovery Community and Outreach Centers (RCOCs) — $16.8 million
  • Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs) — $6.2 million
  • Recovery Youth Clubhouses (YCHs) — $13.25 million
  • Peer Advocates and Recovery Coaches — $4.5 million
  • Family Support Recovery Navigators — $4.5million
  • Total — $45.25 million

Policy Focus

  • Respond to illicit drug use as a health issue, rather than a crime
  • Eliminate barriers to getting help
  • Develop non-punitive, non-judgmental recovery service models
  • Create a system that supports long-term recovery
  • Address the needs of families living with someone suffering from alcohol and/or drug addiction
  • Start local Recovery Community Organizations (RCO’s) throughout New York State
  • Open Recovery Community Centers (RCC’s) across New York State