Legislative Advocacy-Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Alcohol and Substance Abuse Assessment and Treatment – NASW-NYS Policy Staff worked vigorously to restore privileges to licensed social workers providing alcohol assessments and treatment through New York’s court systems. S. 5780 / A.8054; a 2007 legislative measure initiated by NASW-NYS reversed a criminal, traffic and mental health statute passed in late 2006 that inadvertently impinged upon the scope of practice of social workers when it suddenly required all practitioners providing evaluation and /or treatment to individuals established to have been driving while intoxicated, be certified as alcoholism counselors by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). Such an abrupt criteria change led to confusion within the court system, displacement of many licensed social workers already providing such services (and statutorily authorized to do so as per their scope of practice), and an enormous gap in services as the list of eligible providers was considerably diminished.