Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation Thursday aimed at reducing drug-related overdose deaths across the state and encourage those suffering from addiction to seek help in their recovery.
The five bills that were signed include a bill that decriminalizes possession of opioid antagonists which are drugs used to help prevent drug-related overdoses.
Another bill establishes a program that allows the use of medication assisted treatment for people who are incarcerated. The expansion of treatment in state and local facilities is aimed at helping people overcome substance abuse and lessen the likelihood that they will suffer a drug-related overdose after leaving jail.
The possession and sale of hypodermic needles and syringes also has been decriminalized.
An online directory for distributors of opioid antagonists will be created under one of the signed bills. This directory will be maintained by the Office of Addiction Services and Supports on their website.
And the fifth piece of legislation signed expands 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 updates the term “substance abuse” to “substance use.” This ensures judges can order an individual to treatment instead of incarceration, allowing them a greater chance for successful, long-term rehabilitation.