The New York State Legislature recently passed a series of bills that aim to have a positive impact on those who are suffering from drug addiction and to reduce drug-related deaths.

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In a public ceremony in Manhattan, New York, on Thursday, October 7, 2021, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul signed those 5 bills into law.

Addiction can impact any family, suddenly and harshly - those who find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle are there through no fault of their own. This is a personal battle for me and I am proud to be able to combat the opioid crisis by signing these bills into law. There is no shame in seeking help for substance use and I want to let all New Yorkers know that we are here for you. Treatment should always be accessible for those who need it.
-Kathy Hochul, New York State Governor

According to a press release issued by the Governor's office, the new laws make a few changes to policies in New York and give officials new tools to help those who have been negatively impacted by drug addiction. Those changes include:

  • Senate Bill S.911 and Assembly Bill A.2354 changes the New York Criminal Procedures law to decriminalize possession of drug anti-overdose drugs, like Naloxone, which will make it easier to prevent overdoses.
  • Senate Bill S.1795 and Assembly Bill A.868 will create new treatment programs to help people who are have been in jail obtain additional drug treatment before they are released, which would hopefully reduce them suffering drug abuse issues in the future.
  • Senate Bill S.2523 and Assembly Bill A.868 decriminalizes the sale and possession of needles and syringes with the ultimate goal of reducing the transmission of hepatitis and HIV.
  • Senate Bill S.6044 and Assembly Bill A.128 create's a new online directory of anti-overdose drugs and locations where these drugs can be obtained which would make finding these drugs easier when they are needed.
  • Senate Bill S.7228 and Assembly Bill A.5511 expands the list of crimes that are eligible for drug courts and drug diversion programs. The greater list of offenses will allow Judges more flexibility to consider the individual issues of each person.

I, like so many New Yorkers, have friends and family members who have been impacted by drug use and abuse. According to officials, these new tools are essential to help combat the drug crisis.

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