COVID-19’s impact on those with substance abuse disorders


BINGHAMTON, NY – New York lawmakers are taking a look at the adverse impacts COVID-19 has had on those with substance use disorder. 

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca has more on some of the challenges from today’s virtual Assembly hearing. 

State lawmakers say the coronavirus has made the job of treatment providers ‘much more difficult,’ and that it’s also caused a ‘disruption’ for those battling substance use disorder. 

Despite online telehealth services available for some:

((Linda Rosenthal, NYS Assemblymember))
Many individuals lacked the capability to access telehealth services. And we know that even with federal waivers in place many people had to travel daily to receive their medications risking their lives and the health of others.

Another issue was PPE for treatment providers. 

((Allegra Schorr, Coalition of Medication Assisted Treatment Providers and Advocates President))

What we definitely did face- the shortages in PPE, I think cannot be minimized and I think thinking ahead, what do we do for a second surge? How do we make sure that we’re not facing those again?

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle had also hoped to hear more from the state Department of Health about overdose deaths. But, no representatives from the department attended the hearing despite being invited.

((Richard N. Gottfried, NYS Assemblymember))

We might have pointed out that the Health Department is in charge of how we register deaths in the state of New York, and whether they’re accurately counted or not, we would have pointed out that there have been issues raised about the impact of hospital capacity during the epidemic. 

Lawmakers did note that Ulster, Columbia and Erie counties are seeing increases in overdose deaths.

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