As heroin addiction and abuse continues to devastate both individuals in small cities and those in large metropolitan areas, many doctors and teachers and therapists are turning to law enforcement and government officials for answers as to what may be an effective means of minimizing and ultimately eliminating the use and abuse of this deadly drug. In New York, law makers are taking the problem of heroin addiction very seriously as the Senate proposes 25 different laws aimed specifically at heron abuse.
Bills Vary in Scope and Intention
Most people involved with heroin addiction in any way, whether it is as a recovering addict, loved one, therapist, or law enforcement officer, know that heroin addiction is a complicated problem that may certainly require a complex number of solutions. This is why the bills being proposed to the New York Senate cover a number of different types of programs that will play their own unique role in helping end the heroin epidemic. Some of the programs are focused on prevention. These programs focus on things like education for young people and access to drug prevention programs for all schools. Other proposed bills look at the process of treatment from a medical stand point, and are focused on ensuring that patients who suffer from addiction are not denied coverage for treatment by their health insurance providers. One piece of legislation would require health insurance companies to continue paying for a patient’s treatment program, even if some dispute was in place arguing against that patient’s need for treatment. Other bills are more focused on the law enforcement aspect of prevention, which is aimed at stopping the distribution of heroin. These laws would increase punishment for dealers and also may include limits on the number of opiates (which are derived from the same substance as heroin) that can be prescribed to one particular patient.
Questions About Costs Associated With Proposed Bills
Critics of the proposed bills argue that many of them would present additional costs for the state and thus tax payers. The state of New York is, in fact, one of the majority of states that is facing problems surrounding its budget. Proponents of the bills argue the critiques about their costs are short sided. While there may be some costs associated with things like prevention measures, these expenses would likely save a substantial amount of money in the future by decreasing the amount of people who face legal problems because of drug use and possession as well as the medical costs that are associated with providing treatment to those who cannot afford it.
The Problem is Wide Spanning
One of the bill’s strongest advocates has been Sen.Phil Boyle, R-Long Island, chairman of the Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, who stresses the need for urgent action and the legitimacy behind such a far reaching set of bills because of the fact that the deadly epidemic impacts New York residents "from Buffalo to Montauk, New York City, rural communities, everywhere throughout the state,”. New York is certainly not the only state struggling with heroin addiction. While the federal government continues to attempt to thwart the importation of the drug from other countries and to use DEA agents to crack down on distribution, many strategists believe that in order to effectively stop the epidemic from growing, state governments and even city governments will also have to work to do what they can to prevent the use and abuse of heroin in their areas. If New York is successful in passing much of this legislation, many other states will likely be watching and assessing the results.