Lavine Participates in Hearing on Vet Services

April 23, 2010
Assemblyman Lavine is pictured questioning a witness at a recent hearing on co-occurring disorders among returning veterans.
Assemblyman Lavine recently participated in a public hearing held jointly by the New York State Assembly Committee on Mental Health, the Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The purpose of the hearing was to examine the services offered to New York State veterans who have been diagnosed with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders to assure that these vets and their families are receiving all available resources to which they are entitled in the most effective and efficient manner.

Due to the very nature of military service, many vets return from active duty having experienced great trauma, placing them in high-risk categories for mental health issues, drug abuse or both. The consequences of these disorders when they co-occur can be severe and can develop into medical conditions such as increased risk of heart and pulmonary disease, diabetes, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. The unfortunate next step is often a downward spiral that could lead to homelessness, crime victimization, incarceration and attempted or successful suicide.

Although not a member of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs or the other committees conducting the hearing, Assemblyman Lavine participated because he has a longstanding commitment to the rights of veterans. The assemblyman made the point that providing services to returning veterans must be seamless and must commence prior to discharge in order to be most effective.