Parents, advocates push to have drug rehabilitation be paid for by health insurance

The issue was discussed at the first of 12 statewide forums on heroin and opiod addiction hosted by the New York Senate Task Force at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. (4/8/14)

BRENTWOOD - As the heroin crisis worsens on Long Island, parents and advocates are hoping Albany can pass a bill that would require inpatient drug rehabilitation be paid for by health insurance.

The bill authored by state Sen. Kemp Hannon would mandate insurance companies to cover more rehab treatment options. The insurance lobby in Albany has pushed back against the legislation, saying it would raise the cost of health coverage.

The issue was discussed at the first of 12 statewide forums on heroin and opiod addiction hosted by the New York Senate Task Force at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood.

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The task force hopes to examine the growing problem with addiction in New York, problems with treatment and the hurdles presented by insurance companies for those looking for help.

"Until we make treatment as available as heroin is on the streets, we’re not going to get a foothold on the problem. We are going to continue to struggle,” says Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, who runs the Long Island Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence.

Former addict Jason Otterbeck, of Lindenhurst, spoke during the forum about his experiences.

“Everybody I know is dying out there,” said Otterbeck. “I have friends right now that are looking for treatment.”

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