03.18.16

SCHUMER: CROUSE HOSPITAL IN SYRACUSE SHOULD BE SITE OF FEDERAL FORUM TO ADDRESS GROWING PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE & HEROIN EPIDEMIC – SCHUMER SAYS CROUSE IS LEADING THE EFFORT TO COMBAT OPIOID SCOURGE IN CNY, WHERE NUMBER OF ADMITTED HEROIN ADDICTS HAS INCREASED 700%, AND SHOULD BE AT CENTER OF FORUM THAT IS SEEKING SOLUTIONS

Schumer Says Fed Office Of National Drug Control Policy Has Hosted Community Forums In The Past, Schumer Says Crouse Hospital In Syracuse Should Be Site Of Newest Forum Aimed At Treating & Preventing Rx Drug & Heroin Crisis

Crouse Hospital Is At Center Of Efforts To Combat Growing Epidemic In Central NY – Crouse Serves 17-County Area & Has Seen 700% Increase In Number Of Admitted Heroin Addicts In Last 15 Years; Onondaga County Also Has 3rd Highest Rate of Newborns Addicted To Opioids & Other Drugs 

Schumer: Crouse Is On The Front Lines Of This Epidemic, And Should Be At Center Of Forging a National Solution

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to host one of its community forums at Crouse Hospital’s campus in Syracuse. Schumer said these forums have been held in the past and a new one should be held in Central New York, which is facing a disturbing upsurge in prescription drug abuse and heroin usage. In fact, Schumer said Onondaga County’s heroin death rate per 100,000 people in 2014 was higher than the state and national averages, and the number of people admitted to Crouse Hospital addicted to heroin has increased 700 percent since 2000. Schumer said that, as a leader in the effort to combat this epidemic, the Crouse campus would be the perfect location to host a community forum on ways to eradicate prescription drug abuse and heroin use.

“The prescription drug abuse and heroin crisis in Central New York is symptomatic of the larger opioid epidemic New York State and the entire country are facing, and we need to fight back now. The only way we can do this is with an ‘all of the above’ approach – by increasing resources for prevention, treatment and law enforcement. The ONDCP hosts community forums aimed at finding ways to do just that – which is why Crouse Hospital would be an ideal host for this forum. Crouse has been on the front lines of combating this disturbing uptick in overdoses and deaths, and it should be at the center of helping find a solution to this epidemic,” said Schumer.

Schumer said that Crouse has been on the front lines of the effort to curb this disturbing trend in Upstate NY and, as such, it should be host to a community forum aimed at addressing the growing need for treatment and prevention opportunities. Schumer said Crouse would be an ideal location, as Central New York is currently facing a troubling increase in opioid abuse and the Hospital has experienced this issue firsthand. In fact, Crouse Hospital’s methadone clinic currently serves 650 addicts from a 17-county area, and still has more than 370 people on its waiting list. Crouse admitted 890 heroin addicts in 2015, up from 112 in 2000 – a nearly 700 percent increase.

Schumer said Crouse is a logical location, as it is clearly at the center of this fight. Schumer last visited Crouse Hospital in January to push for additional federal funds in an effort to reduce the number of Onondaga County babies born dependent on prescription drugs. Onondaga County has the state’s third highest rate of infants born addicted to heroin and other opioid drugs. Schumer called on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—which is a part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—to use its increase in federal dollars from the recently passed Fiscal Year 2016 appropriations bill to address the alarming trend of drug-dependent babies in Onondaga County and across Central New York, amongst other places. A baby born dependent on prescription drugs, like painkillers and opioids, has a condition known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). According to a recent study conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), cases of NAS have tripled over the last decade. With Schumer’s support, the appropriations bill recently allocated $47 million towards SAMHSA. Now that this federal funding has been allocated, Schumer called on SAMHSA to dedicate a portion of the funding to help treat, prevent and promote public awareness of NAS.

Schumer has long fought to increase funds for treatment, prevention and education to stem the opioid crisis facing Upstate NY and the country – all of which would be topics of discussion at this forum. This month, Schumer demanded his colleagues in Congress back up their rhetoric with action and pass desperately needed emergency funding to confront the exploding heroin and opioid abuse epidemic. Schumer said the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (CARA), which recently passed in the Senate, is a critical first step in providing these additional resources. However, Schumer said more must be done to supplement this bill, as it authorizes grants to address the national epidemics of opioid abuse and heroin use, but does not currently appropriate any additional funding to do this. Therefore, Schumer urged his colleagues to pass Senator Shaheen’s legislation – of which he is an original co-sponsor – called the Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, would allocate an additional $600 million to specific programs at the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services for local governments to utilize in this fight. This includes $230 million for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, $10 million for the COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force Grant Program and $300 million for the Substance Abuse Preventing and Treatment Block Grant Program.

According to New York State, over a 10-year period (2004-2013), there were more than 3,300 opioid-related deaths across Upstate New York. Schumer said it is time for Congress to do more and provide emergency funding for a drug prevention bill the Senate recently passed. Schumer said this critical bill could put a huge dent in the drug epidemic by allocating much needed additional funding. Schumer said emergency funding will significantly help communities, like those across Upstate NY prevent, future drug overdoses and deaths.

A copy of Schumer’s letter to the ONDCP appears below:

Dear Director Botticelli:

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to treat and prevent opioid and heroin use in the United States. This epidemic is one of Central New York’s most serious health problems. Specifically, Onondaga County’s heroin death rate per 100,000 people in 2014 was higher than the state and national averages, and deaths from all opioid drugs jumped from 24 to 57 in Onondaga County last year.

In light of these tragic figures, I urge the Office of National Drug Control Policy to host a community forum at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, New York to address the growing need for treatment and prevention opportunities. Crouse Hospital is an ideal location for such a forum as its methadone clinic currently serves 650 addicts from a 17 county area, with over 370 people on its waiting list. Crouse admitted 890 heroin addicts in 2015, up from 112 in 2000- a nearly 700 percent increase; and Onondaga County has the state’s third highest rate of newborns addicted to heroin and other opioid drugs. Crouse Hospital is leading the effort to combat this epidemic head on and I strongly encourage you consider using its campus to host a community forum on opioid abuse and heroin use.

It is imperative that we continue to work together to advance legislation, create awareness, enhance treatment options and provide adequate funding to curb this opioid and heroin abuse epidemic. I look forward to working with you on this issue.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United State Senator

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