Press Statements

NEW POLL: Majority of New Yorkers Support Expanding Overdose Prevention Centers & Decriminalization of Drug Possession

April 26, 2022


Jasmine Budnella,, 720-480-5262

Mariah McGough,, 203 470 9979


See Exclusive Coverage of the Polling in City & State; Poll Shows Support Across All Regions Of New York

NEW YORK – Today, VOCAL-NY released polling conducted by Data for Progress demonstrating the majority of New Yorkers support expanding Overdose Prevention Centers (OPCs) and decriminalizing low-level drug possession. The polling comes as the legislature enters the final month of the session and the rate of preventable overdoses in New York is higher than ever. 

“New York’s overdose crisis is both a kitchen table and electoral issue,” said Jasmine Budnella, VOCAL-NY’s Director of Drug Policy. “These numbers show the majority of voters want evidence-based solutions to keep their loved ones alive and safe. The Senate and Assembly must heed the calls of New Yorkers – from upstate to downstate – and urgently pass the overdose prevention bills on the table, and reject the notion that saving lives is partisan or divisive. If we wait another year to implement these proven solutions, continued preventable deaths are all but certain.”

The new poll showed strong majority support for expanding Overdose Prevention Centers and decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs across New York State:

  • A majority – 64% of New Yorkers from across the state – support expanding Overdose Prevention Centers, across political parties:
    • 80% of Democrats support
    • 63% of Independent support
    • 43% of Republicans support
  • Support was high in rural areas and urban areas – every single geographic area polled showed a majority support expanding OPCs:
    • 53% in Western New York
    • 58% in Long Island
    • 60% in the Finger Lakes 
    • 76% in Mid-Hudson region
    • 70% in NYC
  • An overwhelming, bipartisan majority of New Yorkers – 70% of likely voters – support decriminalizing low-level drug possession.
    • 56% of Republicans support 
    • 74% of Independents support
    • 79% of Democrats support


This new polling follows a letter of support, with over 230 signers, calling on leaders to pass the Safer Consumption Services Act (S603/A224) – the bill to expand Overdose Prevention Centers statewide. The numbers also show bipartisan support for decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs (S1284/A7109). Additionally, lawmakers can take action on New York’s overdose crisis by decriminalizing lifesaving buprenorphine (S2524/A612). It’s clear state lawmakers have evidence-based solutions on the table this session – now it’s time to get it done.

From November 2020 to November 2021, the CDC’s preliminary data shows 5,785 overdose deaths across NYS – the highest number of deaths recorded in a year. Across New York State, 15 New Yorkers are dying everyday, one person every 90 minutes, to preventable overdoses. Overdose continues to take more New Yorkers’ lives than car accidents, suicides, and homicides combined. Black and Brown New Yorkers’ rates of overdose continue to surge, while white New Yorkers’ rates are stabilizing or decreasing. All data sets and recent trends suggest that fatal overdoses are continuing to rise to historic levels.


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