Press Statements

After Legislature’s Failure, Governor Hochul Must Act to Address New York’s Overdose Crisis

June 9, 2023

CONTACT: Mariah McGough,, 203-470-9979


 Despite Overdose Deaths at an All-Time High Across New York, State Leaders Refuse to Authorize Overdose Prevention Centers Across New York State

NYC’s Overdose Prevention Centers, the First Two Sanctioned in the Nation, Have Already Saved 900+ Lives 

ALBANY, N.Y. — After another devastating and record-breaking year of preventable overdose deaths, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie left Albany without doing anything substantial to address the unrelenting overdose crisis. Again, the legislature failed to pass the Safer Consumption Services Act — the bill that would authorize Overdose Prevention Centers across the state — during this year’s legislative session (S399/A338). In response to lawmakers’ negligence on the overdose crisis, VOCAL-NY released the following statement, attributable to leaders of the Users Union:

“With the end of another legislative session without Overdose Prevention Centers authorized across New York State, our communities’ cries for help have been ignored by our state’s leaders. We pleaded with the legislature to lead New York through this crisis, but instead, both Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Heastie refused to pass the Safer Consumption Services Act, choosing to play the political chess board and using our people’s lives as pawns. 

Our community members are dying at rates never seen before, and yet our state’s lawmakers have shown us that people who use drugs do not matter to them. Our state’s leaders have treated New York’s overdose crisis as a backburner issue, leaving their very own constituents to die preventable deaths. 

Until the overdose crisis is recognized as a public health emergency and not a political talking point, we will continue to fight to save our own lives and honor our family, friends, and community members who have died waiting for lawmakers to act.” 


This legislative session, both the New York Senate and Assembly Health Committees passed the Safer Consumption Services Act (S399/A338), marking the farthest the bill has progressed since its introduction in 2017. However, state leadership failed to bring the legislation to a floor vote in either chamber, despite constituents experiencing the worst overdose crisis on record. 


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