Wednesday: Statewide Coalition Gathers at City Hall with Elected Officials to Demand Life-Saving Medication for All People Who Are Incarcerated in NY State

Press Release November 12, 2018
Media Contact

Dionna King, 678-591-5068
Jasmine Budnella, 720-480-5262

New York, NY: A coalition of harm reduction organizations, drug policy reformers, and treatment providers will join Assembly Member Rosenthal and Senator Bailey in calling for access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in all New York jails and prisons. Speakers will highlight the devastating impact incarceration has on the overdose crisis, and the inhumane treatment people with an opioid use disorder currently receive while incarcerated. Speakers will also illustrate how successful models that provide methadone and buprenorphine in correctional settings reduce recidivism, the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, and overdose (JAMA Psychiatry. 2018).  With seven years of consecutive increasing overdose rates, the coalition will demand access to buprenorphine and methadone treatment in every prison and jail across the state, and the divestment from criminalization and prosecutions for people who use drugs.  

Immediately following the press conference, NYS Corrections, Health, Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee will hold a hearing to examine the effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment programs in New York State jails and prison.

What: Press Conference
When: November 14th at 10 AM
Where: Steps of NYC City Hall  
             Legislative Hearing, 250 Broadway Hearing Room 19th Floor

Background: Someone is dying from a preventable overdose every six hours in New York. Our elected officials continue to say that, “we can’t arrest our way out of this crisis,” but our state continues to address the overdose epidemic with handcuffs and jail/prison sentences. Nearly 80% of people in the state’s prisons and jails are in need of substance use treatment (NYS DOCCS, 2018), many of which are inhumanely forced to go through with withdrawals (CBS New York, Apr. 2013). This is not only cruel and unusual punishment, it puts people at incredible risk for an overdose–people leaving incarceration are 40 times more likely to overdose the first two weeks of release (Newsweek, June 2018).



A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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