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March 6, 2024



Mark Levine Wants EMS Workers to Provide Buprenorphine 

Manhattan's Borough President, Mark Levine, has put forward a proposal to give EMS workers the ability to administer buprenorphine.

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The Borough President notes that EMS workers are increasingly responding to calls to treat opioid overdose or opioid withdrawal. They are authorized to administer naloxone to revive patients. Typically in such cases the patients refuse transport to hospital, foreclosing the possibility that they would be connected to longer-term treatments and care.

To address this challenge, EMS units in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are now authorized to administer buprenorphine to patients experiencing opioid withdrawal regardless of whether the patient decides to go to the hospital. Patients are then able to schedule a virtual follow up with a doctor within 24 hours to get a buprenorphine prescription and be connected to other critical harm reduction resources.

Levine argues that New York City should create a similar program:

We propose establishing a three-year pilot program during which all 911-participating ambulances serving designated neighborhoods with high overdose rates would be required to carry and offer buprenorphine as part of their services for patients who have been revived from an overdose. This would require training for EMS responders to use the medication, as well as to ensure that EMS could adequately connect patients with nonprofit service providers to ensure they received continued support and care.


2022 Overdose Deaths and Race

New data (2019 to 2022) from New York City's Chief Medical Examiner shows that the proportion of Black and Latino/a New Yorkers who overdose, is increasing. Concurrently, the proportion of white overdose deaths is shrinking:

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Note that the proportion of Asian and Pacific Islander overdose deaths is statistically insignificant, despite being 12% of New Yorkers.

GHC's Opinion Piece on Funding Non-Opioid Painkillers

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We believe that Americans on Medicaid need easily accessible non-opioid pain medications.  To accomplish this we want our New York elected leaders to vote and insure that alternatives to addictive opioids are available when medically warranted.

"At the Greater Harlem Coalition, we will continue to fight for effective and equitable drug treatment and recovery programs for those already suffering the consequences of opioid addiction. But by making sure patients have access to non-addictive alternatives from the start, we can help ensure they never develop a reliance on these drugs to begin with"

We urge our elected leaders in Albany to act quickly to pass legislation that makes non-opioid alternatives an option that’s easily available, and affordable, to those enrolled in New York Medicaid.

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