New York is home to some of the country’s most important business and financial centers, and it is a global leader in the arts. Unfortunately, residents of the Empire State also experience high rates of substance abuse and a significant number of opioid-related deaths each year.
Lawmakers are focused on creating legislation that puts proven solutions in place to combat this issue. In addition, New York offers a wide array of resources for individuals seeking treatment.
New York Substance Abuse Statistics
The 2015-2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health provides detailed information on drug and alcohol use for each state. This information assists policymakers and healthcare professionals in designing appropriate prevention and treatment programs.
Some of the survey information gathered includes:
- Survey respondents in New York reported high rates of illegal drug use in the month preceding the study. Approximately 1,751,000 individuals over the age of 18 indicated that they had used at least one substance, including marijuana. This represents 11.41 percent of the state’s adult population.
- New York residents over the age of 18 report using cocaine at a rate of 2.55 percent, which is a total of approximately 392,000 individuals.
- The percentage of New Yorkers age 18 and older who used heroin in the past year is .45 percent, which represents approximately 68,000 people.
- Abuse of prescription pain relievers is at 3.98 percent of New York’s adults—nearly 610,000 people.
- New York residents report binge drinking in the past month at a rate of 27.35 percent, or roughly 4,197,000 individuals.
Unfortunately, despite the resources available throughout the state, opioid-related deaths continue to rise. New York lost 3,638 individuals to overdose in 2016—a 32.4 percent increase from the previous year.
Widespread distribution of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl is thought to be a major driver in the upsurge of overdoses. The effects of the drug can be reversed through the use of naloxone (Narcan), but this medication must be administered right away.
Addiction Prevention Programs In New York
New York’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services has three major outreach campaigns in progress: #CombatAddiction, #ReversingtheStigma, and #FentanylKills. This agency is responsible for tracking statewide substance abuse indicators as well as data related to treatment programs. Each year, approximately 260,000 New York residents receive treatment for a substance use disorder through an OASAS-certified provider.
New York lawmakers are also heavily involved in combating the opioid epidemic. Legislation was passed to limit initial opioid prescriptions to seven days in an effort to reduce the amount of medications prescribed by physicians for pain management.
New York also implemented a 911 Good Samaritan Law that protects individuals who call emergency services to report an overdose.
Individuals who make a report are shielded from arrest for the following offenses:
- Possessing controlled substances up to 8 ounces
- Possessing alcohol where underage drinking is involved
- Possessing marijuana of any quantity
- Possessing drug paraphernalia
- Sharing drugs
New York Addiction Treatment Programs
Very few individuals suffering from a substance use disorder are able to recover without professional addiction treatment. Addiction to alcohol, illegal substances and prescription medications is a complex condition that is best managed with the help and support of experienced healthcare providers.
Comprehensive addiction treatment programs do more than address the physical aspects of addiction. They also offer a variety of therapies intended to help patients make healthier choices long-term.
Most individuals or their family members begin the treatment process by selecting an appropriate facility. Once a provider has been identified, experienced professionals assess the patient’s unique needs to create a customized treatment plan. Services may include some or all of the continuum of addiction treatment care.
One of the most difficult obstacles to overcome is making the decision to seek treatment. Family members of the individual experiencing active addiction often wait and hope that their loved one will eventually choose to seek help. Unfortunately, many are unable to take the first step.
In this situation, intervention services can help. Trained experts offer support and guidance, help friends and family members persuade their loved ones to accept help and discuss treatment plans with the patient.
Drug and Alcohol Detox
The physical discomfort associated with withdrawal is the primary reason many people don’t seek treatment. In certain cases, the symptoms of withdrawal can become life-threatening. In these situations, drug and alcohol detox is a necessary part of the treatment process, offering those experiencing active addiction to eliminate substances from their bodies in a safe setting while being monitored and supported by healthcare professionals.
Inpatient Drug Rehab
Once the detoxification process is complete, many patients feel that they are “cured.” However, the key to sustained recovery is managing the psychological and emotional issues that underlie substance abuse. New York residential addiction treatment programs are highly effective in this area, offering a comprehensive menu of therapies, support, and services to ensure long-term success.
Some of the benefits of an inpatient addiction treatment program include:
- No access to drugs or alcohol
- 24-hour support from healthcare professionals
- Consistent supervision
- Carefully planned structure and daily routines
- Access to quality nutrition, opportunities for exercise and adequate sleep
Outpatient Addiction Treatment
Outpatient addiction treatment facilities offer many of the same therapies as inpatient programs, with one notable difference. Instead of living on-site for the duration of the program, patients return to their homes each evening after treatment. Some elect this type of treatment instead of an inpatient option, but it is most frequently used as step-down support for patients who have successfully completed an inpatient program.
Aftercare And Alumni Services
Aftercare and alumni services offer long-term support for those who have completed an addiction treatment program. These services ensure that recovery continues as patients return to their homes and jobs.
Specialized Addiction Treatment Programs
The physical symptoms of withdrawal can range from mildly uncomfortable to life-threatening. Fortunately, FDA-approved medications can help prevent or decrease withdrawal symptoms. A variety of medications are also used in combination with behavioral health therapy in medication-assisted treatment programs to support ongoing recovery.
Treatment For Co-Occurring Disorders
It is common for a person experiencing a substance use disorder to also be diagnosed with a mental health disorder. These co-occurring disorders require highly specialized care. Individuals with a dual diagnosis are best served by programs designed to manage both conditions.
Gender-Specific Therapy Groups
Group therapy is an opportunity to share and receive support from others who are experiencing the challenges of recovering from substance use disorders. However, some patients are unable to take full advantage of the experience when they participate in group therapy that includes both men and women. In these cases, gender-specific therapy groups are more effective.
Addiction Treatment Therapies
In addition to traditional one-on-one counseling and group sessions, a variety of other techniques are helpful in treating addiction.
Most behaviors are learned, and so behavioral therapies were developed to support individuals who want to form new behavior patterns. Some methods that fall into this group include cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and motivational interviewing. Each of these has a proven record of success in helping patients reduce self-destructive behaviors.
A variety of complementary therapies have been proven to support recovery. Complementary therapies focus on whole-person wellness and may include yoga, acupuncture, meditation, journaling or equine therapy.
Working with an experienced counselor one-on-one offers an opportunity to identify obstacles that prevent patients from achieving their goals.
Peer support has extraordinary benefits when it comes to recovering from a substance use disorder. Group therapy offers individuals an opportunity to connect with others who have similar experiences.
Patients recovering from addiction aren’t the only ones affected by the condition. Family members often need a safe place to work through the issues surrounding their loved one’s substance abuse. Family therapy offers that opportunity.
Nutrition Education and Exercise
Developing healthy eating habits and adding physical activity to daily routines are proven to support recovery efforts.
The stress of daily life is dangerous for individuals who are in early recovery. Stress management offers new tools for coping with stressful situations that could increase the risk of relapse.
The all-consuming nature of addiction can leave those in recovery without the skills necessary to manage their homes and jobs. Many treatment centers offer programming to fill these skill gaps.
Paying For Addiction Treatment
No one should be turned away from treatment because of financial concerns. Fortunately, New York makes substance abuse treatment as affordable as possible. Many programs are partially covered through private insurance or Medicaid, and there are opportunities to have remaining out-of-pocket expenses subsidized. In addition, treatment centers typically offer payment arrangements such as monthly payment plans, sliding-scale fee structures, grants, and scholarships.
Length Of Treatment
New York drug rehab programs vary in length, depending on the type of program, treatment methods used and the individual’s needs. While some are short-term and last only 30 days, others can extend for months or a year or more. Aftercare and alumni services are available long-term, and many people choose to participate in these programs throughout their lifetime.
Traveling For Treatment
It is common for patients to travel for treatment of substance use disorders, and many New Yorkers choose programs that are quite a distance from their home city. This may occur because of specialized treatment needs, but in many cases, it is a deliberate choice. When treatment facilities aren’t located close to home, patients aren’t distracted by their home environment and familiar habits and relationships that may hinder recovery efforts.Article Sources
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - https://www.samhsa.gov/samhsa-data-outcomes-quality/major-data-collections/state-reports-NSDUH-2016
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html
New York State Department of Health - https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/prevention_agenda/mental_health_and_substance_abuse/substance_abuse.htm