Emergency Medical Hold Legislation

Advocacy/Policy
Written in: March 2018


LIRA supports legislation creating an emergency medical hold on individuals deemed to be incapacitated by alcohol or other drugs including those who are revived from an opiate overdose by Naloxone and clearly posing “a danger to self or others.”

The emergency hold will allow for a clinical assessment or evaluation and referral to treatment or other recovery resources such as a certified recovery coach or peer advocate.  We believe this intervention will save countless lives especially those of injection drug users who otherwise are very likely to return to using within 48 hours. We must continue to act quickly and decisively when lives are at stake.  This bold action is necessary as Long Island continues to be devastated by the loss of young lives.

We envision improvements in accessing care across the island in an effort to realize access to treatment and recovery support services on demand. The addition of recovery coaches and peer advocates in hospital emergency rooms and an expansion of recovery support services throughout the community will help fill the existing gap in the continuum of care.  LIRA will continue to work closely with law makers and like minded groups locally, at the state and federal levels to push for pro-active changes and will offer these services as well.

We encourage healthcare professionals hospitals and treatment providers to practice warm hand offs even hand holding if needed to ensure that each individual or family in need is connected to the appropriate resources in a compassionate manner.

In the recent legislative package signed by the Governor in late June 2016 the emergency hold was expanded from 48 to 72 hours. Now appropriate mechanisms and policies must be put in place in order to maximize the therapeutic benefit of this process. Some have raised concerns about potential law enforcement interventions if an individual refuses to comply with this mandate. Clearly nobody wants to see a crossover into criminal justice consequences for a public health issue and we will not tolerate any effort to do so..