Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown) joined his Assembly Minority colleagues, Senators and those impacted by heroin addiction to call on the Assembly Majority to pass common-sense solutions before the end of session. The Assembly Minority and the Senate Majority support legislation to improve access to life-saving treatment, detox and long-term rehabilitation, and strengthen educational and law enforcement tools. No action has been taken by the Assembly Majority, which Fitzpatrick and others find unfortunate.
“As legislators we have an opportunity to find solutions to address New York’s heroin epidemic, and I urge the Assembly Majority to join my Assembly Minority colleagues and the Senate Majority in this effort,” said Fitzpatrick. “This is about doing what is right, our communities and residents are suffering from addiction and sadly, it has taken too many lives. We can, and must, act now before the end of session on June 16.”
Fitzpatrick helped host the Long Island meeting of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Heroin Addiction and Community Response in 2015. The testimony gathered from seven statewide forums was crafted into the HELP (Heroin ELimination & Prevention) Plan.
The legislation was created to help address heroin addiction in our communities. It would improve access to treatment including overdoses, detoxification and long-term rehabilitation. Additionally, law enforcement has said better education about the dangers of opioid pain killers and heroin will help keep people from using the drugs. The HELP Plan also supports the criminal justice system – ensuring tools are working for law enforcement – and incorporates more treatment within the correctional system.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heroin deaths increased by four times between 2002 and 2013. Heroin addiction is no longer a city problem; it has spread to suburban communities on Long Island. Opioid painkillers are gateway drugs to heroin, which is a cheaper alternative to the prescription medications. Opioid painkiller addicts are 40 times more likely to abuse heroin.
More information on the HELP Plan can be found at goo.gl/iQkMtx.