Some New York lawmakers and advocates are pushing the state to invest more in prevention, treatment and recovery when it comes to substance use disorders. Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state Senate and Assembly all made slightly different budget proposals for fighting the crisis.

Advocates like Addiction Recovery coach Judy Moffitt are asking for addiction in New York state to be declared a state of emergency, and what is behind that effort is a series of items being pushed to address the crisis, some that are included in those budgets and some that aren’t.

Moffitt told Spectrum News 1 she got involved with the fight through a desire to help other families avoid her family’s struggle.

“When my son was just in middle school, addiction came into our lives and I didn’t know what it was,” she said. “Everything I did to try to stop it wasn’t working, and at age 17, for a first offense my son was arrested, deemed a felon, and sent to shock incarceration.”

She told of how her son, now in his 30s, still struggles with the trauma of that experience to this day.

Now she calls fighting substance use disorders and the opioid crisis a 24-hour-a-day job.

Along with other advocates, she is pushing the state Legislature and Gov. Hochul to implement proposals including the Senate and Assembly’s 3% Medicaid rate increase, Hochul’s proposal to create parity between Medicaid and commercial insurance, and a new proposal not included in those budget proposals to cap the cost of copays for the entirety of outpatient treatment in the state budget.

Avraham Schack, CEO of RevCore Recovery Center, stressed those items are a must. He pointed specifically to the cap on copays as going a long way toward making treatment accessible.

“If somebody has to come and see a therapist one or two or three times a week, that means $50 or $60 or $70 each time they come in, how often can they pay that out of pocket?” he said.

State Sen. Nathalia Fernandez, who co-sponsors that copay bill with Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas, criticized the governor’s executive budget for leaning heavily on limited opioid settlement funds to offset what critics describe as an otherwise minor increase in spending.

“We’re calling on the governor to commit to us, commit to saving lives in New York and take every drastic step you have to because it has gone on for too long,” she said.

Hochul’s office fired back.

"As one of the millions of Americans who has lost a loved one to the opioid epidemic, Governor Hochul is committed to taking bold action to address the overdose and addiction epidemic,” the governor’s office told Spectrum News 1 in a statement. “The Governor's FY25 Executive Budget continues the record-breaking investments that began when she first took office, including an increase in projected spending for OASAS in the upcoming year as well as continued distribution of funding secured through the Opioid Settlement Fund."

Recently, the governor has touted that under her leadership, New York distributed those Opioid Settlement Funds faster than any other state.

Republican Assemblymember Brian Maher meanwhile said he is pushing a bill that would take a statistical look at to what exact degree specific substances such as xylazine and fentanyl are contributing to the crisis, while suggesting that the Opioid Settlement Fund Advisory Board include more young people to get a different perspective on the crisis.

As far as this year’s budget proposals, he is pushing for the governor to get on board with a 3.2% cost of living adjustment and other measures to ensure organizations have what they need.

“The pay disparity among the people who have boots on the ground doing the work every day is embarrassing,” he said. “It takes a lot of skill and passion to do these jobs and they can make more money in the fast food industry and that’s why we need the 3.2% COLA and the wage enhancement.”