Crisis intervention and addiction treatment are both critical services that can mean the difference between life and death for those suffering from addiction. However, these vital services can be challenging to access, especially for those living in rural areas or lacking transportation.
The latest in addiction recovery news is that a new bill has been introduced in New York that could help increase access to these vital services. The bill calls to improve drug treatment access by providing transportation to those who cannot get there on their own.
New York Assembly Bill 6945
The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Phillip Steck, would create an “addiction recovery supportive transportation service.” The program would provide funding for transportation services to people with substance use disorders who are enrolled in treatment programs, including inpatient, residential, or outpatient treatment.
The bill also includes “other activities that are a part of the individual’s treatment or necessary to help maintain stability to continue their recovery” — such as 12-step meetings, therapy appointments, and medical appointments.
Currently, no state-funded program provides this type of transportation service specifically for people with addiction. If passed, the bill would fill an important gap in services and make treatment more accessible for people who need it.
High Rates of Addiction in New York State
Substance use disorders are a major problem in New York State. According to the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, there are an estimated 1.9 million people in the state with a substance use disorder. This includes approximately 1.3 million people who suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence and 640,000 people who suffer from drug abuse or dependence. Only about one-third of people who need addiction treatment receive the care they need.
In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the number of people dying from drug overdoses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of drug overdose deaths in New York State increased by more than 37 percent between 2019 and 2020. The majority of these deaths were caused by opioids, such as heroin and synthetic opioids.
Addiction Treatment can be Life-Saving
Substance abuse treatment can be effective in helping people to recover from addiction and lead healthy, productive lives. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research has shown that addiction treatment can help people to abstain from drug use, reduce their criminal activity, and improve their employment prospects.
For many people, however, accessing addiction treatment can be difficult. This is especially true for those who live in rural areas or who lack transportation. According to the National Rural Health Association, people living in rural areas are more likely to have substance use disorders but less likely to have access to treatment.
How Bill 6945 Could Improve Outcomes for People in Treatment
Accessibility to treatment is one of the cornerstones of addiction recovery. In order to make progress in their recoveries, people need to be able to get to and participate in treatment. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. One of the biggest obstacles to accessing treatment lack of transportation.
Bill 6945 could help to improve access to treatment by providing transportation services to those who need it. This would make it easier for people to get to and from treatment, and would also allow them to participate in other activities, such as 12-step meetings or therapy sessions.
How Bill 6945 Could Impact Treatment Providers
If it is enacted, Bill 6945 could positively impact treatment providers.
By making it easier for people to get to and from treatment, the bill could help to increase attendance and participation in treatment programs. Sober homes and treatment providers that are currently unable to offer transportation services would be able to reach a wider pool of potential clients. This could lead to more people getting the help they need and fewer people falling through the cracks.
In addition, the bill could also help to ease the administrative burden on providers. Addiction treatment providers often face the challenge of arranging transportation for their clients. This can be a time-consuming and expensive process, as many providers must coordinate with multiple outside agencies to secure funding and arrange schedules. If the bill is enacted, treatment providers would be able to focus on providing treatment rather than arranging transportation.
What Are the Potential Drawbacks of Bill 6945?
It is important to consider the potential drawbacks of this bill as well.
One major concern is that it could be difficult to implement and monitor. There would need to be a way to track who is using the services and how often, and there would also need to be a way to ensure that people are using the services for treatment purposes and not for other reasons.
Another potential drawback of this bill is that it could create longer wait times for treatment. If there are only a limited number of transportation services available and demand is high, people may have to wait longer for appointments. This could be particularly problematic for those who need immediate treatment.
It is also worth noting that the bill does not address other barriers to treatment, such as cost. While transportation may be a major obstacle to treatment, it is not the only one. Many people cannot afford the cost of treatment, and this bill does not address that issue.
Despite these potential drawbacks, Bill 6945 could have a positive impact on treatment accessibility and provider availability, two key components of addiction recovery.
What’s Next for Bill 6945?
The bill has been referred to the Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. The committee will hold a hearing on the bill and decide whether or not to recommend it for passage.
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DateJuly 13, 2022