ADDABBO JOINS SENATE COLLEAGUES IN APPROVING WIDE-RANGING PACKAGE OF LEGISLATION TO COMBAT HEROIN, OPIOID AND OTHER DANGEROUS DRUG ABUSE

Queens, NY (May 26, 2016): NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. recently
voted to approve a wide-ranging package of Senate legislation aimed at
stemming increasing incidences of deadly heroin and opioid abuse and
otherwise helping to protect New Yorkers from the horrors of drug-related
deaths, illness and crime.

“Lives are being tragically and needlessly ruined and lost in New York and
across the nation from a frightening epidemic of heroin and opioid abuse,”
said Addabbo.  “Here in New York City, according to the Health Department,
deaths attributed to unintentional opioid overdoses rose by 56 percent
between 2010 and 2014, with 79 percent of all drug overdose deaths in 2014
involving some form of opioid, including heroin and powerful prescription
painkillers.  We are already taking action to address this epidemic, such
as making life-saving naloxone more readily available to reverse overdoses,
but much more needs to be done both here in the City and statewide.”

The package of legislation approved by the Senate with Addabbo’s support
includes greater penalties for illegal heroin or opioid sales, proposed
advances in treatment opportunities, stronger restrictions on access to
dangerous drugs, and enhanced public education about dangerous drugs, both
legal and not.

“The heroin and opioid epidemic touches individuals, families and our
entire society in different and terrible ways, and we need to fight it on
every front: using criminal, medical, educational and all other tools at
our disposal,” he said.  “There is no one solution, so we need to fight
this scourge by all means available.”

Bills to combat heroin and opioid abuse, and otherwise address drug-related
challenges in New York include:

S.6962, which would help to ensure that insurance coverage is made
available for pain management opioid medications that are manufactured in a
way designed to prevent their misuse or abuse, such as making them
difficult to crush or liquefy (and thereby inject or snort).

S.6623, which would impose greater restrictions on access to fentanyl and
derivatives of the drug – a pain medication said to be 100 times more
powerful than morphine and much deadlier than heroin – and also increase
penalties for its illegal sale, especially when it is sold combined with
heroin.

S.6516, which would require the State Department of Health to track and
annually report on opioid overdoses and deaths, as well as the
administration of “antagonist” drugs used to revive overdose victims, on a
county-by-county basis to reveal where areas of particular abuse are
located.

S.4177, which would redefine the state crime of operating as a major drug
trafficker to make it easier to prosecute and convict major dealers of
heroin and other deadly substances.

S.4163, which would enact “Laree’s Law” and make it possible to charge drug
dealers whose customers die from the use of heroin and other opioids with
homicide, instead of only the typical crime of criminal sale of a
controlled substance.

S.7365, which is designed to combat the over-prescription of powerful
opioid painkillers by enabling patients to request smaller quantities of
medication (to prevent the use and abuse of left-over pills by others),
ensuring that patients are advised by their physicians of the risks
associated with opioid-related addiction, and requiring that the reason for
the prescription be clearly documented in medical records.

S.7317, which would make it easier for physicians treating patients in
managed care programs to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug that is well
documented for its effectiveness in addressing opioid withdrawal symptoms
and overall addiction recovery.

S.7315, which would require the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
Services (OASAS) to create a card or pamphlet, to accompany each opioid
prescription, detailing the risks of taking opioids, the signs of
addiction,  and safe drug disposal methods, while also providing phone and
text number information for HOPELINE, New York’s primary addiction
assistance program.

S.7200, which would make it a class B felony to sell controlled substances
within 1,000 feet of a drug or alcohol treatment center or methadone clinic
– a ploy pursued by dealers hoping to tempt addicts working towards
recovery.

S.7012, which would help to ensure that criminal penalties associated with
heroin are updated and strengthened to reflect the light weight of the
substance in comparison to other drugs and its high potency and danger.

Having passed the State Senate, the bills are under consideration by
various standing committees addressing different issue areas in the State
Assembly.

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