We would like to thank The Daily Star for its Jan. 4 story, “Experts: Area drug addiction up,” that highlights what the New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers believe is New York’s No. 1 health issue — prescription drug misuse.
As the article correctly notes, this is a growing issue not only in Otsego County, but across the state and nation as well. In fact, prescription drug misuse drives more than 36,450 unintentional overdose deaths annually — nearly one every 14 minutes.
If we are going to solve this epidemic, we need to ensure that adequate resources are dedicated for regional prevention, treatment, and recovery services.
We realize that resources are scarce and that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has demanded more results from government spending. The good news is that funding for prevention and treatment services will produce the results that the governor is looking for because treatment and prevention work better and cost less than untreated addiction.
New York must build on existing prevention and treatment programs and work to increase cooperation between medical, mental health and criminal justice systems, known as cross-systems collaboration, so that we can treat addiction and use resources in the most efficient way.
Our association’s No. 1 priority in 2013 is to work with elected officials from across the state to do this because we know treatment works.
Problems related to addiction are everywhere, and many of those affected are the people you work with, live next to, or cherish as friends and family. Everyone mired in the throes of addiction should have the opportunity to get better. If we give them that chance, society will be healthier and taxpayers will win as well.
(Coppola is executive director
of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York State Inc.