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Questions for OASAS’s Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham, M.D.

Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham, M.D.
  1. Racial discrepancies in SUD treatment modalities are well-known and documented. Will OASAS ensure that OASAS-licensed programs provide patients of color the same treatment modalities that whiter and wealthier patients receive (using, for example, opioid settlement money to accomplish this)?
  2. We believe that OASAS agrees with The Greater Harlem Coalition that drug treatment programs should be fairly distributed throughout New York City so that there is equitable access to treatment in all communities. Will OASAS pursue a plan to better balance the distribution and admission capacity of the programs it licenses based on the residence data of patients who attend OASAS-licensed programs?
  3. As OASAS knows, while East and Central Harlem have only 3.4% of New York City’s population, 18% of all OASAS-licensed New York City OTP admissions are sent to our community. Will OASAS commit to supporting the distribution of supervised injection sites equitably throughout New York City when collaborating with NYC’s Department of Health?
  4. Will OASAS work to end licensing and relicensing treatment programs “on the same street or avenue and within 200 feet of a building occupied exclusively as a school, church, synagogue or other place of worship?”
  5. Other states, such as Arizona, have regulations that mandate that drug treatment providers create a community engagement plan and a plan to control the diversion of methadone. Will OASAS adopt similar requirements?
  6. States such as Connecticut also require that the siting of drug treatment clinics be subject to a public needs assessment process. Will OASAS adopt similar requirements?
  7. According to OASAS FOIL data, from 2010 to 2019, the number of patients obtaining drug treatment in OASAS-certified facilities and outpatient facilities dropped by 19%; residential treatment — the most effective form of treatment — dropped by 35%, or more than 1,500 patients. Can OASAS commit to remediating this loss of treatment capacity in New York City while not adding to Harlem’s burden?