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New York State's response to hepatitis A, B and C and methamphetamine


To gauge the level of threat that hepatitis A, B, and C and methamphetamine use pose to New Yorkers, to assess the State's response and to determine if additional action should be taken to protect public health

Friday, January 7, 2005
10:00 AM
NYS Assembly Hearing Room
Room 1923, 19th Floor
250 Broadway, New York, New York

New York, like other areas, is experiencing a significant increase in hepatitis C infections and abuse of methamphetamine. Hepatitis A and B infections are also posing a serious challenge to New York. Drug abuse, including methamphetamine, contributes to high-risk sexual behavior, which in turn contributes to the spread of diseases like hepatitis A, B and C, as well as HIV and other diseases. In New York City, for example, drugs like methamphetamine are growing in popularity among at-risk populations, contributing to the increased transmission of hepatitis. New York should look to secure available vaccines for hepatitis A and B, reduce the spread of hepatitis C and address the methamphetamine problem in New York.

The cost to society and individuals from the growing trend of methamphetamine use and increase of viral hepatitis infections, particularly hepatitis C, is tremendous. Methamphetamine use is rapidly spreading around the country, including in New York, as a "recreational" drug due in part to easily manufacturing it in "home operations." In the last 5 years, both the availability of methamphetamine and methamphetamine-related treatment admissions have increased significantly in New York. With regard to hepatitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8,000 to 10,000 Americans die annually from the 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. New York must aggressively pursue all available means to prevent and treat these issues.

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

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

Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committees 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.

Oral testimony will be limited to 5 minutes' duration. All testimony will be under oath. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committees 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. The Committees would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements.

In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committees' 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

Richard N. Gottfried
Member of Assembly
Committee on Health


  1. 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. Like HIV, high-risk sexual behavior in combination with drug use greatly facilitates the spread of hepatitis. In New York City, drugs like methamphetamine are growing in popularity among at-risk populations. How is the connection between methamphetamine use and hepatitis being addressed by city and state authorities?

  3. Public education about hepatitis C, its transmission, and how individuals can protect themselves from infection is crucial in preventing the spread of the disease. What could New York State be doing to increase public awareness about hepatitis C?

  4. Hepatitis A and B are preventable through immunization. Are vaccinations currently available to all persons at risk, including workers in health-related and substance abuse fields treating these patients? What role does the State currently play in the management of these vaccines, and are current education and outreach efforts sufficient to ensure vaccinations efforts are effective?

  5. Reducing or eliminating drug use can help prevent hepatitis A, B, and C infections, and clearly 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?

  6. What should New York State be doing to combat methamphetamine production, sale, and use?

  7. 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 treatment be paid for?


Persons wishing to present testimony at the public hearing on New York State's response to hepatitis A, B and C and methamphetamine 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
Email: egglerw@assembly.state.ny.us
Phone: (518) 455-4371
Fax: (518) 455-4693

box I plan to attend the following public hearing on New York State's response to hepatitis A, B and C and methamphetamine to be conducted by the Assembly Committees on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and Health on January 7, 2005.

box I plan to make a public statement at the hearing. My statement will be limited to 5 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 do not plan to attend the above hearing.

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