ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York’s Legislature passed a series of bills Thursday aimed at curbing heroin and opioid use throughout the state.
The 11 bills, which passed unanimously, target issues raised during testimony given by dozens of experts, parents, and concerned New Yorkers at 18 forums held by the Senate Majority Coalition’s Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, officials said.
The legislation includes a requirement for insurance companies to better cover substance-abuse treatment. They also call for a public awareness campaign, establishing school drug prevention programs, providing additional resources to law enforcement, and harsher penalties for illegal drug distribution.
The bills also require every anti-overdose kit, which contains the drug naloxone, to include an information card on how to administer the drug and how to recognize the symptoms of an overdose.
“The comprehensive approach of the measures in this package will help ensure treatment for those affected by heroin and opioid addiction, prevent the spread of drug use, and give law enforcement the tools they need to get heroin and opioids off our streets,” said Senate Majority Co-Leader Dean Skelos.
Skelos also applauded Sen. Phil Boyle for highlighting the issue.
Boyle, chairman of the Senate task force on heroin and opioid addiction, called it the beginning of the end of New York’s heroin epidemic.
“For countless New Yorkers struggling with heroin and opioid addiction; for the parents who fear for the health and safety of their children; and for our law enforcement officials combating drug dealers profiting from our tragedy, this package of legislation marks a historic day,” he said.
Senate officials said the task force was created in March as a way to examine the growing heroin epidemic in the state.
The bills will now be sent to the Assembly.
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