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New York State’s response to viral hepatitis.


To gauge the level of threat that viral hepatitis poses to New Yorkers, to assess the State’s response and to determine if additional action should be taken to protect public health.

New date TBA

NYS Assembly Hearing Room
Room 1923, 19th Floor
250 Broadway, New York, New York

While the incidence of chronic viral hepatitis infection has decreased in recent decades, millions of Americans are currently infected, often without their knowledge. Many experts believe that the similar risk factors, transmission modes and at-risk populations make today’s viral hepatitis threat resemble the threat of HIV in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8,000 to 10,000 Americans die annually from complications of liver disease caused by hepatitis C and about 5,000 die from complications caused by hepatitis B. Annual health care costs and lost wages associated with hepatitis-related liver disease are estimated to be $600 million for hepatitis C and $700 million for hepatitis B. The costs to individuals and society of illness related to hepatitis are substantial, and New York State must aggressively pursue all available means to prevent and treat this known killer.

The New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse is seeking testimony from government officials, healthcare, chemical abuse and mental hygiene treatment providers, persons with hepatitis, pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders and interested parties to determine the prevalence of hepatitis in the state, gauge the effectiveness of current efforts to combat the disease, and determine what further steps are necessary to address this critical public health issue.

See below for a list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony. Please note that the list is not exhaustive and witnesses may wish to address related issues they deem critical to the discussion of hepatitis in New York State.

Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.

To ensure that time is available for all witnesses to be heard, the Committee requests that oral testimony be limited to 5 minutes’ duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible. In the absence of a request, witnesses will be scheduled in the order in which reply forms are postmarked.

Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk in the front of the hearing room on the day of the hearing.

In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee’s interest in hearing testimony from all sources.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.

Jeffrey Dinowitz
Member of Assembly
Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse


  1. While there has generally been a decrease of the incidence of viral hepatitis nationwide, hepatitis is still a threat to public health, a threat worsened by the fact that many persons with hepatitis may not be aware they have the disease. What is the current prevalence of hepatitis, who is most at risk of contracting the disease, and what can be done to better detect, verify and respond to the problem?

  2. There is growing concern that the hepatitis threat in New York State today may resemble that of HIV in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Are comparisons of hepatitis to HIV accurate?

  3. All three strains of viral hepatitis can be prevented, with hepatitis A and B preventable through immunization. Are these vaccinations currently available to all persons at risk? What role does the State currently play in the management of these vaccines, and could that role be improved? Are current education and outreach efforts sufficient to ensure vaccination efforts are effective?

  4. Since reducing or eliminating drug use can help prevent hepatitis A, B, and C infections, substance abuse treatment is key in the fight against hepatitis. Is the State currently coordinating its hepatitis prevention and treatment efforts with substance abuse treatment providers?

  5. Are all persons currently screened for hepatitis during intake to a substance abuse treatment program? If someone tests positive for hepatitis, what treatment options are currently available to them? How can such testing and treatment be paid for?

  6. Healthcare, mental health and mental retardation workers are routinely immunized against hepatitis. Are these vaccines available to substance abuse treatment workers as well? In light of the clear connection between hepatitis and drug use, should these vaccines be mandated for substance abuse treatment workers?

  7. Like HIV, high-risk sexual behavior in combination with the abuse of drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine greatly facilitates the spread of hepatitis. How is the connection between heroin and methamphetamine use and hepatitis being addressed by city and state authorities?


Persons wishing to present testimony at the public hearing on New York State’s response to viral hepatitis are requested to complete this reply form as soon as possible and mail it to:

Bill Eggler
Legislative Associate
Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
Room 522 - Capitol
Albany, New York 12248
(518) 455-4371
(518) 455-4693 (fax)

box I plan to attend this public hearing

box I plan to make a public statement at the hearing. My statement will be limited to 10 minutes, and I will answer any questions which may arise. I will provide 10 copies of my prepared statement.

box I will address my remarks to the following subjects:

box I would like to be added to the Committee mailing list for notices and reports.

box I would like to be removed from the Committee mailing list.

box I will require assistance and/or handicapped accessibility information. Please specify the type of assistance required:






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