For more information, contact Matt Curtis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-234-9062
Yesterday the New York State Department of Health released regulations outlining new rules that allow people who use drugs, their friends, and family to get the overdose antidote naloxone (Narcan) from community groups and pharmacies without needing a doctor present to write a prescription. The new policy is the result of legislation championed by VOCAL New York and signed by Governor Cuomo on June 23. Follow this link to view and download the new regulations.
From helping draft the legislation, to bringing on bill sponsors, educating dozens of lawmakers, and finally winning unanimous passage and the governor’s signature, VOCAL members led the campaign every step of the way. And more than 30 allied organizations from all parts of the state got involved, joining us on trips to Albany and making countless calls to elected officials.
Opioid overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in New York. Heroin overdose deaths have increased significantly, with almost no community untouched. In NYC, after an earlier decline associated with the expansion of naloxone access, heroin use is thought to have increased sharply, and the number of deaths increased by more than 80% since 2012.
This is a huge victory for people who use drugs and the harm reduction community, and will begin to save lives immediately by allowing us, for the first time, to distribute naloxone wherever and whenever we find people in need.
We’re deeply thankful to the bill sponsors, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) and Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau), as well as to Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, who was closely involved in drafting the bill. All of them put great care into crafting and passing the best bill possible. Governor Cuomo understood the value of the law amid growing heroin use and overdose. And our colleagues at the NYS AIDS Institute have set the stage for putting the law into practice.
As we celebrate, please consider donating to VOCAL today so that we can keep up the fight to end the war on drugs, the HIV and hepatitis C epidemics, and the criminalization and incarceration of poor communities. And if you don’t itemize your taxes, consider donating to the VOCAL Action Fund, our 501(c)4 lobbying and electoral organization.
– The VOCAL family