Brown Holds Press Conference to Announce Publication of A Report On Co-Occurring Disorders to Promote Substance Abuse Services in Honor of Recovery Month

Assemblyman Keith Brown (R,C-Northport) held a press conference today to announce the publication of a report, entitled “Strengthening the System of Care for Co-Occurring Disorders.” The press conference coincided with National Recovery Month. Joining Brown today were Sen. Dean Murray, Assemblyman Joe DeStefano (R,C-Medford), Assemblyman Doug Smith (R,C-Holbrook), Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R,C-Riverhead), Assemblyman Michael Durso (Massapequa Park), Assemblyman Ed Flood (R,C-Port Jefferson), Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny (R,C-Coney Island), Assemblyman Michael Novakhov (R-Brooklyn), Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker, Huntington Town Supervisor Ed Smyth, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, President and Chief Executive Officer of Family and Children’s Association (FCA), Stephanie Marquesano from The Harris Project, Mary Silberstein of CN Guidance, Anthony Rizzuto from Seafield Center, John Venza of Outreach LI, Steve Chassman from Long Island Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence (LICADD) and Andrew Drazen and Dr. Edmond Hakami from Wellbridge.

The press conference of elected officials and treatment professionals was focused on promoting the integration of mental health and substance abuse use disorder services to better help those with co-occurring disorders (COD), also known as dual diagnosis or comorbidity, properly educating their loved ones, treatment and recovery options and emphasizing the importance of integrating this important care into the health care system. According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly 9 million people 12 and older misused opioids in the past year, and roughly 19 million adults in the U.S. suffer from COD– a common challenge in which millions are misdiagnosed or lack proper access to treatment. You can view the report here.

“I am so grateful to everyone who helped draft the report and participated in the 2nd Annual COD Conference for such an important topic. Everyone knows someone who has suffered from substance abuse or mental illness – it is difficult to help when we are not educated or our health care system designed to provide care is broken. Our goal is to help those struggling with COD to receive informed care and support from those around them. There needs to be a ‘No Wrong Door’ approach,” said Brown.

“I am happy to be joined by my fellow elected officials in state and local government to announce these new developments in our mental health and substance use disorder services. These programs are incredibly important and integrating them into our system of care is vital to promote prevention, treatment and recovery in our community,” said Brook-Krasny.

“With ever-increasing distractions and pressures placed upon all of us in today’s world, it is more important now than ever to address the mental health crisis and champion the integration of mental health and substance use disorder services. This report is a beacon of hope for those with co-occurring disorders and their families. Thank you to all the mental health professionals, nurses, counselors, family members and individuals who continue to undertake this vital work to ensure brighter days and healthier lives for us all,” said DeStefano.

“The continuing battle against addiction and mental illness can't be waged with the same tactics. I'm proud to support the measure to integrate mental health and substance abuse disorder services into our direct care offerings. Those fighting addiction deserve our support, and we should be doing everything we can to provide it,” said Giglio.