NY comptroller audit finds drug treatment programs overdue for recertification
BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — A recent audit by New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found that many of the state’s residential drug treatment programs are overdue for evaluation. The Office of Addiction Services and Supports, or OASAS, had not reviewed some treatment centers for as long as three years.
OASAS oversees treatment centers throughout the state. The agency re-certifies these programs after a period of time. The certification process includes in-person inspections, and reviews of the program’s procedures.
The comptroller audit specifically examined Supportive Living and Community Residential programs. It found 76 of 95 were overdue.
When the pandemic began, OASAS was forced to limit its in-person inspections. But the audit found that even before the pandemic, nearly 50 programs had gone a year without assessment.
“The concern is the obvious one, if you add in the months of the pandemic. Some of these programs will be going on for years without the kind of review that they should be having," DiNapoli said.
DiNapoli emphasized that a lack of oversight can have real life consequences for New Yorkers struggling with addiction, especially at a time when overdoses are rising.
“This is a vulnerable population,” DiNapoli said. “We want to make sure that the programs that are getting state funding are doing what they're supposed to do.”
Of the residential programs the audit looked at, four are in the Southern Tier: one in Binghamton, two in Cortland, and one in Elmira. They range from two years to almost three years overdue for recertification.
In a statement, OASAS said the agency disagrees with the idea that programs are operated without oversight. OASAS added that it “has maintained regular and frequent contact with all treatment programs.”