Bill requires Dept. of Health to track heroin overdoses and deaths



A bill requiring the Commissioner of Health to report opioid overdose data, has passed both the Assembly and Senate.

The legislation, S.6516-a/A.9251-a requires the Health Department to report data on opioid overdoses on a per-county basis annually on or before October 1. The data would be posted on the agency’s website and the health commissioner would also monthly reports to each county on the number of overdoses and deaths in their jurisdiction.

The goal is to assess how often, and to what level of success, the drug Narcan is being used to reverse opioid overdoses across the state. Tracking the quantities that are administered will provide the counties with accurate details and allow them to effectively circulate resources.

Heroin and opioid addiction prevention is a state-wide initiative, with each house in the state legislature conducting hearings to hear from addicts, their families, police, prosecutors and health professionals on how to address the problem.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo listed heroin and opioid addiction as an end-of-session priority.

The statistics that would be collected by the Health Department would health professionals a better understanding of which areas of the state are struggling the most with this crisis, helping to better allocate funds.

New York State has begun to make opioid antagonists, such as Narcan, available over the counter. However, how often opioid antagonists are being administered to revive individuals is severely under-reported, say the bill sponsors, Sen. George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan.  Without accurate information about how many reversals are happening, it is difficult to determine the amount of resources a community needs.