Graf Announces Heroin Addiction Task Force Findings

January 25, 2016

Assemblyman Al Graf speaks at today’s press conference to announce the Assembly Minority’s Task Force on Heroin Addiction & Community Response report.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Assembly Minority Task Force on Heroin Addiction and Community Response report can be found here.

Assemblyman Al Graf (R,C,I-Holbrook) today announced the release of the Assembly Minority’s Task Force on Heroin Addiction & Community Response report. The task force, of which Graf was a member, traveled around New York State in 2015 to gather information on the costs of heroin addiction – both financial and emotional.

“These forums provided us the opportunity to hear from those who have been hit the hardest by heroin’s devastation and know firsthand how heroin addiction shatters lives,” said Graf. “We heard from so many people, from every walk of life. From those fighting addiction to those who want to help them, it is more obvious than ever that we must bring about common-sense changes to deal with the heroin epidemic. Detoxification, rehabilitation and recovery must work hand-in-hand to treat addiction.”

The HELP (Heroin ELimination & Prevention) Plan proposes the following:

  • Provide Drug and Heroin Education
  • Create Support Tools and Advocacy Programs
  • Increase Funding and Improve Methods for Treatment and Recovery
  • Reevaluate Insurance Parity Laws and Reimbursement Rates
  • Criminal Justice and Judicial Improvements
  • Improve Connections Between Correctional System and Addiction Services

“The first phase of recovery must be detox. Patients must be weaned off of all drugs and given a medical and psychological evaluation to determine underlying causes leading to addiction,” said Graf. “We must ensure we have an adequate amount of rehabilitation facilities across the state with accredited, uniform programs. Aftercare is the final component to getting recovering addicts on their feet. Without a detailed recovery plan and appropriate housing for at-risk individuals, this only ends one way – with relapse. We must focus on these components to eliminate New York’s heroin epidemic.”

Forums were held in South Huntington, Troy, Plattsburgh, Amherst, Olean, Carthage and Binghamton.