Closing The Addiction Treatment Gap

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NCDA, Northwell Health, Nassau University Medical Center and New Hope announce groundbreaking partnership

District Attorney Madeline Singas addresses the addition treatment gap.

Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced a groundbreaking partnership between the NCDA, Northwell Health, Nassau University Medical Center and Maryhaven’s New Hope Crisis Center to further close the deadly treatment gap by providing overdose patients with immediate transportation and admission into residential treatment from the emergency room.

“Since my office provided funding to expand New Hope’s services and admission hours in 2015, more than 2,200 people have been helped. They had a safe and supportive place to go through withdrawal and to be directed to the next phase of treatment. Now there will be no delay between the hospital and help,” Singas said. “Thanks to the collaboration between New Hope, Northwell Health and NuHealth, a person in crisis in an emergency room will not just be stabilized, released and referred for future treatment—that person will meet a counselor in the emergency department and be transported directly to New Hope. Treatment and hope for the future will start immediately.”

As part of the NCDA’s three-pronged strategy against the heroin crisis, that includes enforcement, education and treatment, Singas has negotiated a unique and innovative medically approved treatment program.

Recently, staff from Maryhaven’s New Hope Stabilization/Crisis Center began a pilot program with Northwell-LIJ and Nassau University Medical Center. New Hope staff are on call to respond directly to the hospital emergency rooms to work with the hospital staff to counsel the patient and immediately transport the patient to New Hope to begin treatment. The patient will be assessed to determine the next phase of treatment.

Typically, users who overdose, are revived and stabilized are released from the ER because withdrawal is not considered medically “life-threatening.” This treatment gap leaves many patients on their own during the most violent, painful and difficult throes of withdrawal, often leading to repeat use that can continue uninterrupted until death. This cycle can also lead to crimes often associated with the need for money to support opiate abuse, like robbery and burglary.

Nassau University Medical Center has further committed to the efforts to fight this continuing epidemic by making 20 more beds available for detoxing patients, by working with Nassau County and Sheriff Vera Fludd to bring a re-entry Vivitrol program to the Nassau County Correctional Facility and by expediting a program to make medically assisted treatment inductions available through the emergency department.

“The groundbreaking partnership we’re announcing today represents a major step towards closing the addiction treatment gap in Nassau County. We know that we can’t arrest our way out of the opioid crisis,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “District Attorney Singas’ three-pronged strategy of enforcement, education and treatment has already shown positive results, and today’s announcement will help us continue that progress in Nassau County.”

“Addiction is a very complex and painful condition that continues to overwhelm families in our local communities, as well as law enforcement and medical professionals who are tasked with providing answers,” said Northwell Health president and CEO Michael J. Dowling. “That’s why this partnership with New Hope is so critical, especially during a public health crisis like the opioid epidemic. New Hope will serve as a bridge to treatment for patients in our emergency departments who are struggling with addiction. It’s an important step in our ongoing commitment to alter the course of this crisis.”

“We are excited about this partnership which has the potential to save lives,” said Lewis Grossman, president and CEO of Maryhaven Center of Hope which runs New Hope, Nassau County’s only 24/7 stabilization residential center. “We are closing the treatment gap between an overdose, stabilization at an emergency department and discharge from a hospital. New Hope offers medically-assisted treatment in a safe space and assists patients in securing long-term treatment.”

Since 2015, when District Attorney Singas announced that her office committed $585,000 in criminal asset forfeiture funding to expand New Hope’s services, 2,212 individuals have benefited from treatment through 2018.

In 2018, according to the Nassau County Medical Examiner, 123 individuals died of an opioid-related overdose in Nassau County. Currently, the Medical Examiner has 72 cases that are pending cause of death determination, and those cases may or may not be opioid overdose-related.

For more information on New Hope and other Long Island treatment programs, visit www.heroinprevention.com.

—Submitted by Nassau County

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