June 29, 2022
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LET US LIVE: DRUG USERS URGE GOV. HOCHUL TO USE EXECUTIVE ACTION TO AUTHORIZE OVERDOSE PREVENTION CENTERS
See Images and Videos From the Actions in Albany and New York City on Social Media Here
NEW YORK — Today, leaders with VOCAL-NY gathered at the Governor’s Manhattan Office and the Governor’s Mansion in Albany to call on Governor Kathy Hochul to use her executive action powers to authorize Overdose Prevention Centers across New York State. Leaders with VOCAL-NY released the following statements:
“Since the opening of the Overdose Prevention Center in Harlem, so much has changed in my life for the better,” said Armando Ortiz, a member with VOCAL-NY’s Users Union and OnPoint participant. “I no longer make neighbors feel afraid or unsafe by using the streets. I no longer am afraid of overdosing with no one to help me. I now feel hopeful about my future. Governor Hochul: We need Overdose Prevention Centers everywhere, and you can do that with an executive action.”
“Before I knew about Overdose Prevention Centers, my mother overdosed in my arms. My brother passed away without him knowing what these spaces are,” said Mohammad X, a member of VOCAL-NY’s Users Union and OnPoint participant. “If they knew what OPCs were, maybe they’d still be here. We need these everywhere and we need them now.”
“If Overdose Prevention Centers were open, more people would be interacting with case managers and program assistants educating them about what their options are if they’re at all interested in Medication-Assisted Treatment or other forms of support,” said Tanner Milazzo, a leader with Albany VOCAL-NY’s Users Union. “A lot of the time people don’t access resources — not because we’re not interested, but because we don’t know what’s available. Governor Hochul, you have the power, with the wave of your pen, to grant an executive order authorizing Overdose Prevention Centers throughout New York State right now.”
After securing the Democratic nomination for Governor and leading on protecting New Yorker’s from gun violence and restricted abortion rights, it’s time Governor Hochul take this step to protect people from preventable overdoses.
New York is in the midst of the worst preventable overdose crisis on record. This past session, the legislature failed to advance a bill that would authorize these sites across all of New York. It’s a critical missed opportunity, but one that Governor Hochul can correct on her own through executive action to authorize OPCs (something Governor Cuomo stalled and failed to do).