This Tuesday, New York’s Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction released a report against this statewide epidemic.
The number of deaths related to opioid and heroin has drastically increased, and this is why the officials have to take action. The plan must be divided into at least four steps represented by prevention, treatment, recovery, and enforcement.
The first act of prevention would be to limit the prescription of controlled substances, to add drugs such as the sedative Xylazine and the opioid fentanyl to the list of controlled substances and to create some addiction awareness programs and abuse-deterrent technologies.
Another important aspect would be to target the dealers. Sen. Tom O’Mara co-sponsored a package of legislation called R-Big Flats that will make any drug dealer guilty of homicide if someone dies from an overdose of opioid.
O’Mara explained that they do not aim to arrest everyone in order to stop this crisis but that from now on, they will not hesitate to respond to any threat. According to Brooks Baker, Steuben County District Attorney, this legislation will make the dealers think twice before continuing their activity, as from now on, they might be prosecuted if someone dies from an overdose.
However, the reality is harsh because people who buy from these dealers are usually unaware of what they buy. Plus, this problem might lead to death as Baker’s office is handling right now 8 out of 10 overdose-related deaths. Moreover, it is not known yet the total number of victims that died this year because of this overdose.
According to Baker, they still need a little more time to determine whether the deaths came from a combination of heroin or heroin-fentanyl, or some other drugs sold as heroin. Furthermore, there are many other deaths which have not been reported yet.
As a member of the bipartisan task force, O’Mara held a public forum in February at Penn Yan Middle School in order to inform everyone about the most efficient ways to deal with this problem.
R-Corning assemblyman, Phil Palmesano, stated that this report is a loud and clear message about the initiative and the future progress that this legislature is going to rely on. However, the state must continue focusing on this problem and to find better ways to deal with heroin and opioid addiction.