Cuomo and lawmakers agree on bills to curb heroin use

Updated: 06/18/2014 11:17 PM
Created: 06/18/2014 10:54 PM WHEC.com

A new attempt at curbing what lawmakers say has become a huge problem in our area and across the state.

On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and some of the state’s top lawmakers reached an agreement on a series of bills to help fight heroin abuse, but many are asking what these bills will do and if they will be enough to save lives.

“If I had to pick one thing out of the legislation that’s going to have the biggest impact, it’s that,” said Lori Drescher.

When Lori Drescher learned her son was addicted to heroin she didn’t know where to turn, but she knew time wasn’t on her side. Drescher says one of the biggest hurdles was getting her insurance company to move quickly.

 “There is nothing more painful, as a parent, than to have to wait on the insurance company to weigh in or getting form letters sent to you while your addict is actively using and hoping to get into treatment,” said Drescher.

Drescher says her son is finally getting the help he needs, but it has been a long road. She says the series of bills related to heroin abuse signed by Governor Cuomo will save lives and families.

“Government isn’t going to solve the heroin problem. It takes all of us. It’s parents. It’s friends. It’s peers.  It’s community leaders, but we are doing our part,” said Governor Cuomo.

In addition to requiring insurance companies to consistently cover appropriate treatment for individuals addicted to heroin, the new laws include reforms to improve treatment options like longer hospital care and continued support for people who complete treatment programs. It also includes tougher penalties for heroin dealers, giving New York State Police more tools to go after the dealers as well as money for public awareness programs.

“I’m counting on this legislation to save lives. Someday this legislation may save my son’s life. It will definitely save other families lives. It’s one step, and it’s one big step,” said Drescher.

Another provision of the new laws is aimed at ensuring proper use of Naloxone, an overdose antidote. It has just recently been provided to first responders in NY. Each kit will include information on how to recognize an overdose, the steps to take and how to get help.

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