More than 400 people in Erie County alone could die from heroin and opioid abuse by the end of 2016.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul spoke at Horizon Health Services about new laws implemented in the state of New York to mitigate the number of substance abuse deaths.
Among the new laws, Hochul highlighted:
- Llegislation that would require insurance companies to use state-designated criteria to determine the level of care for individuals. That goes into effect January 1st, 2017.
- Mandating pharmacists provide easy to understand literature with opioid prescriptions
- Changing prescription lengths from a 30-day supply to a 7-day supply
- Asking insurance companies to cover the cost of overdose reversal medication
- Requiring evaluation in hospitals to increase from a period of 48 hours to 72 hours
Other attendees of the forum included leaders from local mental health and substance abuse departments, leaders of treatment centers and parents of individuals who have died from overdoses.
Hochul said there has been significant progress made in Western New York, but there is a lot more work to be done.