NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new law Wednesday that he says will combat the heroin and opioid epidemic that has hit the state.
"We lose as many people now to heroin overdoses as we did from the entire AIDS epidemic at its peak," Cuomo said.
The new law has four main components:
1. Limit opioid prescriptions to seven days after initial visit to a doctor.
2. Increase treatment capacity by adding about 2,500 slots statewide.
3. Require insurers to cover initial inpatient drug treatment without prior approval.
4. Extend that treatment from 48 to 72 hours.
To accomplish this, the governor said it was necessary to take on insurance companies that are businesses designed to save and make money.
"We're not leaving it up to the insurance company; we're going to have a doctor make the decision," Cuomo said. "If a doctor says 'this person needs treatment, well, they're getting the treatment and the insurance company is going to pay."
Dr. Harris Stratyner, an addiction specialist, believes this new law will save lives.
"I think he's already helped the addiction crisis with some of the other rules that he's passed with online prescribing and being able to keep track of who else could be prescribing," Stratyner said.
Opioid-related emergency visits have gone up more than 70 percent statewide, Cuomo said.
This legislation will go into effect in approximately 30 days.