In late January, the New York State Senate Health Committee advanced Bill S.1409-Rivera, the Infant Recovery Centers Bill. Bill S.1409-Rivera would respond to the needs of infants suffering from opioid withdrawal by creating an infant recovery centers pilot program. Under this legislation, the New York State Department of Health would open at least four recovery centers across the state for infants suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
In New York and across the United States, opioid addiction has become a crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 70,000 opioid overdose deaths occurred in the U.S. in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has made matters worse, with opioid overdoses increasing by 29% in 2020.
Opioids do not just take a toll on adults; they also take a toll on babies born to opioid-addicted mothers. As the number of opioid-addicted adults has increased, so has the number of infants suffering from opioid withdrawal. The four recovery centers to be created under this legislation would offer specialized care to infants suffering from opioid withdrawal, and would also alleviate overcrowding at hospitals.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms supports Bill S.1409-Rivera. This important legislation passed the Senate in 2017, 2019, and 2020, but has not yet passed the Assembly. It is hoped that this bill will become law in 2021, providing vulnerable infants whose young lives have been damaged by maternal opioid use with the care that they need to survive and thrive.