DeStefano Joins Forces to Combat Fentanyl Epidemic, Urges Swift Action

Assemblyman Joe DeStefano (R,C-Medford) attended a press conference on the Million Dollar Staircase in the Capitol this morning to support the unveiling of a legislative package aimed at stemming the rising tide of overdose deaths in New York state. More than 110,000 lives were lost nationwide to fentanyl poisoning in 2022, exemplifying the need to take action swiftly. The press conference was led by the Suffolk County DA and advocates from across the state, who came together in support of the newly proposed legislation.

“Every life lost to the devastating grip of fentanyl is a stark reminder of the urgent need for comprehensive action. There is no time to wait when it comes to the lives of our family members, our friends and our community members who are struggling with addiction. Both the Minority and Majority Conferences are working hard to address this epidemic by drafting legislation with the support and input of local district attorneys and advocates of drug crimes,” DeStefano said.

The four bills in the legislative package are:

  • A.8383, relating to bail for certain felony offenses involving the manufacture, sale, distribution or possession with intent to sell synthetic opioids
  • A.8384, establishes the delivering or administering of certain controlled substances as manslaughter
  • A.8395, making the possession and use of Xylazine illegal with an exception for its use only in veterinary practice
  • A.8397, amends the Executive Law to include families of children lost to a fatal overdose for financial compensation under the law. 

“I put forward my own legislation to address this issue, bill A.8130, which classifies xylazine as a controlled substance, making it a crime to sell or possess substances containing the drug. Despite xylazine’s increasing presence in Long Island and New York City’s illicit drug market, it is not classified as a controlled substance in New York state, a concern shared by Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney. Unlike opioids, naloxone does not reverse xylazine’s effects, making this an even greater cause for concern. We must act swiftly and decisively to curb this epidemic as lives hang in the balance,” DeStefano concluded.