According to Governor Kathy Hochul, the new laws are “aimed toward reducing drug-related overdose deaths across New York State and encouraging those suffering from addiction to seek help in their recovery.”
The laws include:
• S911/A2354, amending the CPL, the CPLR, and the Executive Law “to promote the use of opioid antagonists in preventing drug-related overdoses,” by decriminalizing possession of opioid antagonists, “drugs that block opioids by attaching to opioid receptors without activating them.”
• S6044/A128, establishing “an online directory for distributors of opioid antagonists making them more accessible to New Yorkers ….” • S2523/A868, decriminalizing “the possession and sale of hypodermic needles and syringes.”
• S7228/A5511-A, expanding “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 updating “the term ‘substance abuse’ to ‘substance use.’”
• S.1795/A.533 Relates to the Establishment of a Program for the Use of Medication Assisted Treatment for Incarcerated Individuals
Some local law enforcement officials in the state have criticized the bills as an “unfunded mandate” on counties that won’t solve the problem as intended:
Lewis County Sheriff Mike Carpinelli, who is running for governor as a Republican, said “I’m upset by it. I think it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money, and I think it’s gonna bring more problems to all our jails across the state.” “Why instead of actually treating the addiction problem are we giving them something that enables them to continue on with it?” he said. ****
Brooks Bigwarfe, St. Lawrence County Sheriff, and Colleen O’Neill, Jefferson County Sheriff, said they’ll follow the state’s orders. Both declined to offer an opinion about the wisdom of the new law…. Bigwarfe, like Carpinelli, pointed out that it’s an unfunded state mandate, so taxpayers will be paying for the new program.
More on the new laws can be found here.