Press Release

New York Senate Passes Two Bills Ensuring Universal Access to Lifesaving Treatment for New Yorkers

Medication-Assisted Treatment is Equitable, Bipartisan,
and Will Save Thousands of Lives

Thursday 11am Albany Press Conference With Legislators and Advocates Urging Assembly to Follow Suit

Dionna King, 646-481-3127
Jasmine Budnella, 720-480-5262

In New York State overdose claims more lives than car accidents, suicides and homicides combined. Now, the New York legislature may be on the verge of doing something about it by passing two bills critical to laying the foundation to universal access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The Senate just passed these bills today (June 12), and advocates are urging New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to get this lifesaving legislation passed in the assembly before the session ends on June 19, 2019.

The measures will ensure that all New Yorkers – including those on Medicaid, those with commercial insurance, and incarcerated people – will have access to MAT, widely recognized as the gold standard for the treatment of opioid use disorder.

What: Press Conference: Urgency to Pass Legislation Ensuring Universal Access to Medication Assisted Treatment

When: Thursday, June 13th at 11:00 AM EST

Where: Outside Senate Chambers, New York State Capitol Building


  • Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal
  • Senator Jamaal Bailey
  • Assemblymember Richard Gottfried
  • Assemblymember David Weprin
  • Sheriff Craig Apple
  • Senator Gustavo Rivera
  • Senator Pete Harckham
  • Members of Drug Policy Alliance, Friends Of Recovery New York and VOCAL-NY

“The Drug Policy Alliance [DPA] commends the leadership of the New York State Senate for passing two critical bills that expand access to medication-assisted treatment,” said Dionna King, Policy Manager at DPA. “By removing prior authorization requirements for those insured through Medicaid and requiring that all New York state jails and prisons provide access MAT, individuals most vulnerable to fatal overdose have the means to access care. We hope that the New York State Assembly follows suit and passes these life-saving measures. As the overdose crisis continues to devastate communities, we must ensure that everyone one has access to effective treatment.”


2017 saw more than 3,900 people die of a preventable overdose, the deadliest year on record. Though 2018 overdose numbers are not yet finalized, they are predicted to be just as grim. Since 2010, New York State has lost over 20,000 people to an overdose.

This year the New York State legislature has a historic opportunity to pass the following two bills to help this dire situation:  

  • S2161/A833A (Bailey/Rosenthal): Expand Medication Assisted Treatment to all NYS Prisons and Jails
  • S5935/A7246A (Harckham/Rosenthal): Establishes that all FDA approved forms of medication-assisted treatment prescribed for alcohol and opioid dependence shall be covered by Medicaid available under the preferred drug program

By passing this slate of legislation, Albany will send a clear message to New Yorkers that no one – regardless of income, insurance status, or involvement with the criminal justice system – will be forgotten in the fight to save lives during and beyond the current overdose crisis. 

Syringe Access
Heroin-Assisted Treatment
Harm Reduction
Drug Overdose
New York