Albany, N.Y. - Governor Hochul says New York needs to confront the tragic consequences of the current opioid crisis.
Speaking at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the Governor said that after COVID 19 appeared addiction and substance abuse became "a crisis on steroids" with over 51-hundred New Yorkers lost last year from overdoses.
Hochul pointed out overdoses continue to kill more New Yorkers than car accidents, homicides, and suicides combined.
Today Governor Hochul signed a wide-ranging new bill package designed to remove barriers to drug treatment and make substance abuse prevention resources available to more New Yorkers.
The bills she signed are listed below.
- Legislation S.911/A.2354 amends the criminal procedure law, the civil practice law and rules and the executive law to promote the use of opioid antagonists in preventing drug-related overdoses. This bill will decriminalize possession of opioid antagonists, which are drugs that block opioids by attaching to opioid receptors without activating them.
- Legislation S.1795/A.868 works to establish a program for the use of medication assisted substance use disorder treatment for incarcerated individuals in state and local correctional facilities. Expanding medication assisted treatment, MAT, across state and local facilities will allow incarcerated individuals access to medications and therapies to provide them the opportunity to overcome substance use and lessen the likelihood that they may suffer drug-related overdoses upon their reentry into society.
- Legislation S.2523/A.868 decriminalizes the possession and sale of hypodermic needles and syringes. The act of decriminalizing drug-related paraphernalia contributes to public safety by permitting harm reduction approaches for those suffering from substance use disorder and by reducing the rate at which HIV and hepatitis are transmitted.
- Legislation S.6044/A.128 establishes an online directory for distributors of opioid antagonists making them more accessible to New Yorkers who may want to equip themselves with these life-saving medications. The directory is to be maintained by the Office of Addiction Services and Supports on their website.
- Legislation S.7228/A.5511 expands the number of eligible crimes committed by individuals with a substance use disorder that may be considered for diversion to a substance use treatment program and updates the term "substance abuse" to "substance use." This ensures judges can order an individual to treatment instead of incarceration, allowing them a greater chance for successful, long-term rehabilitation.