Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill this week sponsored by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz that would provide substance abuse services for veterans. According to a press release, the bill would coordinate services between the state Office of Alcoholism Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), the Office of Mental Health and the Division of Veteran Affairs to help veterans in need.
In his remarks on the signing of the bill into law, Cymbrowitz cited the dangerous realities facing veterans as they return home.
“Through their service, many military personnel were exposed to or have experienced trauma, placing many of them in high-risk categories for triggering underlying conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse or other mental health conditions,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said.
The press release also noted troubling statistics which speak to the urgency of providing veterans with all the help they need:
According to the Mental Health Association of NYC, veterans are twice as likely as the general population to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or substance abuse, the lawmaker said. In New York, programs that are certified by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services treated nearly 14,000 veterans for alcohol or substance abuse in the past year, but the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that approximately 75,000 New York veterans suffer from alcoholism or chemical dependence.
Cymbrowitz praised Cuomo for signing the legislation into law, joining the fight to help veterans.
“I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this important legislation that will get veterans with addiction problems the services they need and hopefully allow them to get their lives back on track,” he said.