Tuesday, November 30, 2021
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Bills seek to better track opioid sales in New York

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Bills seek to better track opioid sales in New York

A bill that would require the Department of Health to publish an annual report describing all recorded opioid sales in New York was proposed this week by Senator Peter Harckham.

The measure is part of a broader effort to curb opioid overdoses and deaths in the state, which has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic, a simultaneous public health crisis that politicians have urged government officials to address in recent months.

Harckham’s proposal, more narrowly, is intended to comply with the provisions of the state budget in 2019, which created an Opioid Stewardship Fund. The fund is funded through an appraisal of opioid products sold or distributed in New York.

Funds from the fund are intended to support programs of the State Office of Addiction Services and Support, including opioid treatment, recovery, prevention, education, and the I-STOP program.

The budget provision was ultimately challenged in court by opioid producers. A subsequent 2020 measure in the following state budget was intended to address the legal issues, but the assessment is still under a court complaint.

The fund was to include a requirement that the Department of Health collect reports on registered opioid sales in New York. But this data has not been released.

“Right now, there is no public information about the annual opioid sale in New York that is required by law to fund the Opioid Stewardship Fund, and this new legislation will change that,” said Harckham, chairman of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. “We need greater transparency in areas like this to be able to assess whether the law is being complied with and whether the state’s treatment providers are getting the resources they deserve.”

Harckham’s bill would require state health officials to publish the first opioid sales report on its website with transaction data from July 1, 2019, and each year thereafter.

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