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With only days left in New York’s legislative session, we need your help to bring the Nonreligious Recovery Options bill to a vote. If passed, this bill would ensure that all individuals mandated by a court in New York to attend recovery support programs are provided with secular options. The bill has passed the Assembly and passed out of committee in the Senate, but has not been brought to the Senate floor for a vote.
If you live in New York, please take five minutes to make a phone call and/or send an email to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins using the instructions below. Hearing from even just a few local constituents could make the difference on whether this bill is brought to the Senate floor for a vote—or not.
Today, individuals with criminal justice involvement account for 47% of all treatment admissions to New York State’s Office of Addiction Services and Support. However, the only support groups available for many participants are based on the traditional and faith-based 12-step model. Too often, individuals in the court system are denied access to nonreligious recovery options that are consistent with their values and personal beliefs.
We need our leaders to pass the Nonreligious Recovery Options bill to make sure New Yorkers have multiple pathways to recovery available to them, including secular options. Your voice can help make this a reality. Act now using the instructions below.
Read more about the act at https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/S7313.
Thank you for your activism and continued support!
Women for Sobriety, Inc.
PHONE CALL INSTRUCTIONS:
If you get a voicemail, please leave a voicemail using the script below. If someone picks up, it will likely be staff. If you’re extra short on time, the most important thing to remember are to establish you are a New York voter, mention that you are a member of Women for Sobriety, and say you are calling to urge the Majority Leader to bring S.7313A, the Nonreligious Recovery Options bill, to the floor for a vote.
Phone number: (518) 455-2715
Script for phone call:
- My name is (NAME). I’m a New York voter in (CITY/NEIGHBORHOOD IN NEW YORK) and a member of Women for Sobriety
- While I am grateful to Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins for her leadership on passing and funding substance use-related services and programs, I am calling to express concern that with only a few days left in session, S.7313A, the Nonreligious Recovery Options bill has not come up for a vote.
- This bill is very simple—it will ensure that nonreligious recovery options are made available for individuals mandated by courts to attend substance use treatment programs.
- This bill protects the First Amendment constitutional rights of individuals in the criminal justice system by preventing our state from coercing attendees to attend faith-based programs. Faith-based recovery programs work for many people, but not for everyone. This bill ensures that multiple pathways to recovery are available so that individuals can choose programs that will work for them.
- I strongly urge the Majority Leader to bring S.7313A, the Nonreligious Recovery Options bill to the floor for a vote. Thank you.
Simply copy-paste the subject line and text below into an email to Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and fill in the blanks (your name and address). Feel free to edit the email and put it into your own words. If you have a personal connection to the issue, please feel free to share it.
SUBJECT LINE: Bring S.7313A, Nonreligious Recovery Options, to a vote
TEMPLATE EMAIL (make sure to fill in the blanks):
Dear Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins,
As a voter and member of Women for Sobriety, I am writing to urge you to bring S.7313A to a vote. This bill that expands treatment options for New Yorkers in the criminal justice system. If enacted, this legislation would ensure that all individuals who are mandated to attend recovery support programs are provided with secular options.
While faith-based programs work for many, they don’t work for everyone. It is critical that individuals on the path to recovery be provided with options so that they can choose what works best for them. Furthermore, we must ensure that our criminal justice system is protecting the First Amendment rights of all New Yorkers. This bill shifts the burden of protecting this constitutional right from the individual, who often does not have the resources to advocate for themselves, to the state.
In recent years, New York has seen a 200% increase in opioid-related deaths, impacting our families, friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, those in the court system are routinely denied access to secular treatment options, including those where Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) plays a central role in the recovery process.
I urge you to protect the First Amendment rights and expand recovery options for New Yorkers in the criminal justice system by bringing S.7313A, the Nonreligious Recovery Options bill, to a vote.Sincerely,