Priority Area: Mental Health/Substance Abuse - Substance Abuse

The Burden of Substance Abuse

Based on the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) 2010 estimates, approximately twelve percent of State residents age 12 and older experience a substance use disorder (addiction or abuse) annually. Statewide, over 1.9 million New Yorkers (1.77 million adults and 156,000 youth ages 12-17) have a substance abuse problem.

Problem gambling, which has been included in OASAS efforts since 2005, is estimated to affect five percent of all adults, a figure totaling over 750,000. Among New Yorkers ages 12 to 17, problem gambling is impacting 160,000, or one out of every ten youth. Approximately 25 percent of the youth problem gamblers also report subsance abuse problems. An additional 160,000 are at risk of developing problem gambling and may need treatment. Approximately 25 percent of this 160,000 have both a substance abuse and gambling problem. These figures do not fully depict the widespread impact of addiction in New York because of the millions of other individuals whose lives are also affected: the children, spouses, and extended families. The cost to society is compounded by the consequences of addiction, which impact public safety, health, welfare, and education throughout the State.

With one of the nation's largest addiction service systems, OASAS provides a full continuum of services to a large and diverse population of approximately 260,000 unique individuals each year. OASAS certified and funded providers deliver services in prevention, treatment, and recovery settings. The addiction treatment services provided in the OASAS system include inpatient, outpatient, residential, methadone, and crisis services. In addition, there are school- and community-based prevention services as well as intervention, treatment, support, and recovery services.


  • By the year 2013, reduce the percentage of adult New Yorkers reporting binge drinking (5+ drinks in a row) during the past month to no more than 13.4%. Baseline: 15.8%, BRFSS, 2006. (Healthy People 2010 Goal)
  • By the year 2013, reduce the age-adjusted drug-related hospitalization rate in New York to no more than 26.0 per 10,000. Baseline: 34.6 per 10,000, SPARCS, 2003-2005. (Healthy People 2010 Goal not available - twenty-five percent reduction from 2003-05 baseline)

Indicators for Tracking Public Health Priority Areas

Each community's progress towards reaching these Prevention Agenda Objectives will be tracked so members can see how close each community is to meeting the objectives.

Data and Statistics

  • New York State Public Liquor Licenses: The "Public License Query" column on the left hand side, has buttons that allows users to search the State Liquor Authority license database for establishments that sell liquor by county, city or zip code. Before relying on this information, one should be aware that due to workload and administrative issues, there might be relevant information that has not been entered into the Authority's database. Users may contact the nearest zone office for verification of critical data.


The Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) is the designated single state agency responsible for the coordination of state-federal relations in the area of addiction services. OASAS plans, develops and regulates the state's system of chemical dependence and gambling treatment agencies. The Office also monitors gambling and substance use and abuse trends in the state; provides a comprehensive education and prevention program through more than 1,550 programs based in schools and communities; promotes public awareness and citizen involvement through community action groups; pursues state, federal and private sources of funding for services; establishes linkages of services for clients in other human service agencies and criminal justice system; provides education and training for persons dealing with clients; and administers the credentialing of alcoholism and substance abuse counselors as well as prevention practitioners and prevention specialists.

Strategies – The Evidence Base for Effective Interventions

  • Enhance Enforcement of Laws Prohibiting Sales to Minors: The Task Force on Community Preventive Services recommends enhanced enforcement of laws prohibiting sale of alcohol to minors on the basis of sufficient evidence of effectiveness in limiting underage alcohol purchases. Further research is required to assess the degree to which these changes in retailer behavior affect underage drinking.
  • Increasing Alcohol Taxes: The Task Force on Community Preventive Services recommends increasing the unit price of alcohol by raising taxes based on strong evidence of effectiveness for reducing excessive alcohol consumption and related harms. Public health effects are expected to be proportional to the size of the tax increase.
  • Maintaining limits on days of sale: Maintaining existing limits on the days on which alcoholic beverages are sold is one strategy recommended by the Task Force on Community Preventive Services for the prevention of excessive alcohol consumption and related harms. Evidence for this recommendation is based on studies assessing the effects of repealing limits on sales of alcoholic beverages on weekend days. Only two studies evaluated the imposition of new limits on days of sale, limiting the ability to determine the effects of such new limits.
  • Regulation of Alcohol Outlet Density: The Task Force on Community Preventive Services recommends the use of regulatory authority (e.g., through licensing and zoning) to limit alcohol outlet density on the basis of sufficient evidence of a positive association between outlet density and excessive alcohol consumption and related harms. Regulation is often implemented through licensing or zoning processes. Alcohol outlet density regulation is defined as applying regulatory authority to reduce, or limit the increase, of alcoholic beverage outlet density. An alcohol outlet is a place where alcohol may be legally sold for the buyer to drink there (on-premises) or elsewhere (off-premises). Density refers to the number of alcohol outlets in a given area.
  • Substance Abuse Prevention Model Programs: The Model Programs featured have been tested in communities, schools, social service organizations, and workplaces across America, and have evidence that they have prevented or reduced substance abuse.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)'s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: NREPP is a searchable database of interventions for the prevention and treatment of mental and substance use disorders. SAMHSA developed this resource to help people, agencies, and organizations implement programs and practices in their communities.

Reports and Resources

  • The Alcohol Cost Calculator: The Alcohol Cost Calculator estimates the business impact of the continuum of alcohol problems (alcohol dependence, alcoholism, and alcohol abuse) on 11 sectors of U.S. industry and shows how alcohol-related problems generate avoidable health care costs and reduce workforce productivity.
  • Directory of OASAS Certified Education and Training Providers: Indicates training offered for various alcohol and substance abuse certificate programs.
  • Directory of Prevention Services: Based on a survey of New York State prevention providers conducted by OASAS, the Prevention Provider Directory can be searched by county or region to identify providers who run model programs. Providers' contact names, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers have been added to the directory in order to encourage and facilitate information sharing between and among prevention providers.
  • Directory of Treatment Services: Searchable database of treatment services in New York State.
  • Problem Gambling Prevention Programs in New York State: Lists providers that offer problem gambling prevention services.
  • Problem Gambling Treatment Services in New York State: Lists programs that offer treatment for problem gambling.
  • SAMHSA's Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment : The Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment approach is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for persons with substance use disorders, as well as those who are at risk of developing these disorders. A key aspect of SBIRT is the integration and coordination of screening and treatment components into a system of services. This system links a community's specialized treatment programs with a network of early intervention and referral activities that are conducted in medical and social service settings.

Return on Investment

  • Evidence-based Treatment of Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Disorders: Potential Benefits, Costs, and Fiscal Impacts for Washington State, Steve Aos, Jim Mayfield, Marna Miller, Wei Yen; Washington State Institute for Public Policy, June 2006: The Washington State Institute for Public Policy was directed by the 2005 Washington Legislature to estimate whether evidence-based treatment for people with alcohol, drug, and mental health disorders offers economic advantages. By systematically reviewing "what works" literature, and estimating monetary value of benefits, they reached three conclusions; (1) The average evidence-based treatment can achieve roughly a 15 to 22 percent reduction in the incidence or severity of these disorders - at least in the short term. (2) Evidence-based treatment of these disorders can achieve about $3.77 in benefits per dollar of treatment costs. This is equivalent to a 56 percent rate of return on investment. (3) Estimated that a reasonably aggressive implementation policy could generate $1.5 billion in net benefits for people in Washington with $416 million in net taxpayer benefits, and the risk of losing money with an evidence-based treatment policy is small.


More Information

Albany Office
1450 Western Avenue
Albany, NY 12203-3526
Phone: 518-473-3460
New York City Office
501 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10018-5903

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