Tuesday, June 24, 2014
 

 

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Legislation to combat heroin, opioid and prescription drug abuse epidemic signed

ALBANY - Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation designed to combat the growing heroin and opioid epidemic in communities across the State. Last week, the Governor and legislative leaders reached an agreement on multiple bills that include new programs and insurance reforms to improve treatment options for individuals suffering from heroin and opioid addiction; measures to strengthen penalties and put in place additional tools for law enforcement to crack down on the distribution of illegal drugs; provisions to ensure the proper and safe use of naloxone, an overdose antidote; and support for enhanced public awareness campaigns to prevent drug abuse. Governor Cuomo signed the legislation - which also builds on administrative actions being taken by the State to combat heroin - during an event at Binghamton University in Vestal, New York.

"Heroin has become a public health crisis in communities across the nation, but today New York State is taking a stand to turn the tide on this epidemic," Governor Cuomo said. "This legislation builds on actions that we have already initiated by strengthening our laws, improving treatment supports, instituting tougher penalties for traffickers, and training first responders and other emergency or law enforcement personnel in how to use a life-saving anti-overdose medicine. I am proud that we are rolling out this comprehensive and thorough response at a time when New Yorkers need it most, and I thank the many advocates, community leaders and elected officials who have made this day possible."

Earlier this month, Governor Cuomo announced a series of new initiatives including the addition of 100 experienced investigators to the State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team; new efforts to make supplies of naloxone available to all first responder units in the State; and the launch of a targeted awareness campaign that will take place on all public college and university campuses. As part of that campaign, SUNY and CUNY personnel will be working alongside State Police to raise awareness about the dangers of heroin and opioid abuse. In 2011, the Governor signed the “Good Samaritan 911 law" to protect individuals who seek medical assistance for a person experiencing a drug overdose or other life-threatening medical emergency from prosecution and arrest for certain drug crimes.