Bellevue Hospital

Anthony Behar/Sipa USA

City Hospitals Increasing Access To Opioid Addiction Treatment Drug

November 01, 2018 - 7:19 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – New York City’s public health clinics will begin boosting access to buprenorphine, a prescription drug to manage opioid addiction, NYC Health + Hospitals said Thursday.

As WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reports, the city’s public hospitals and clinics see about 20,000 opioid addicted patients each year. Now, doctors want to give people suffering from opioid dependence an easier time getting the drug that’s been described as “life-saving.”

According to Daniel Schatz, director of program and policy in the Office of Behavioral Health at NYC Health + Hospitals, buprenorphine is a better option than methadone because it does not require daily clinic visits.

“This is so critical for the patients as they have so many other psychosocial issues going on,” Schatz said. “Whether it’s housing, family, or anything like that, trying to get work – so we're able to retain patients at incredible rates.”

Patients also cannot overdose or abuse buprenorphine like they could with methadone.

Currently, doctors at NYC Health + Hospitals are undergoing training to become certified to prescribe the life-saving drug. There are already 40 doctors at the city’s 18 clinics with the certification.