PROGRESS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ADDICTION A statement by Assemblyman Gary D. Finch
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 17, 2016
“This bipartisan agreement between both houses of the Legislature and the governor will help thousands of New Yorkers break free from the shackles of a debilitating disease and reclaim their dignity. We believe in the decency of a second chance and in the compassion of saving lives. This legislation makes a substantial investment in more treatment beds and creates 2,335 more openings in existing treatment programs. It clears burdensome barriers to rehabilitation and prevents insurance companies from making an evaluation regarding appropriate treatment for two weeks. Additionally, their evaluation will have to comply with revamped state health standards, not just their shareholders and boards of directors.
“Parents who play by the rules and work hard to afford coverage should not be fighting with insurance companies to cover detox; they should be helping their kids win the fight for their lives.
“This was an important, if imperfect, agreement. I am frustrated that Republican efforts to strengthen penalties against high-level drug traffickers fell out of the negotiations. These dealers are profiteers of suffering and death, peddling poison for an easy dollar. I was also looking for an even greater investment in follow-up care to ensure recovering addicts have the support they need to continue to make tough choices.
“These are issues we can continue fighting for next session. Today, I am pleased we got this done. When decisive action is needed, delicate compromise is required, and I am glad we finally came together to ease the suffering families are feeling across the state and especially in my community.”
“Too often, government overlooks the marginalized and the suffering. Advocates across the state opened our eyes, moved our hearts and ultimately changed our minds about the nature of addiction. The unflinching testimony from people who battled this disease and the family members who fought besides them powered the passage of this legislation. I want to thank all of the members of the Heroin Epidemic Action League, particularly Kevin Jones, Michelle Gentile, John Socci, and Dennis Gregg, for their openness and compassion.”
Editor’s Note: Assemblyman Finch was unable to vote in the chamber today as he is recovering from successful surgery to repair a fractured ankle. He will file a statement of voting on Monday in support of this legislation. He is being briefed by staff on all legislative developments.