Assemblymember Steck Introduces Legislation to Increase Access to Overdose-Reversing Drugs

Assemblymember Phil Steck has introduced legislation to expand access to critical overdose-reversing drugs (A08075). The new bill requires the New York State Department of Health (DOH) to make any formulation and dosage of opioid antagonist approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) available.

“First responders have made it clear to us that they need more treatment options when responding to overdoses,” said Assemblymember Steck. “As the rate of fatal overdoses has increased in New York State, it is critical that more tools are available to first responders and individuals throughout the community so they can prevent an overdose from becoming lethal.”

New York’s opioid overdose death rates have exceeded national rates in both 2020 and 2021. In November of 2022, the New York State Comptroller found that 5,841 New Yorkers died of opioid and drug-related overdoses in 2021 (2,668 in NYC). This was a 68% increase from 2019 due to illicit fentanyl and similar synthetic opioids, which are 50% stronger than heroin.

"The strength of synthetic opioids is making administering enough naloxone more difficult," explained Steck. "Increasing the availability of overdose-reversing drugs to our first responders is critical to ensure they are better equipped when responding to an overdose. As chair of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee, I am proud to introduce legislation that ensures New York has every resource available to address the opioid epidemic that is ravaging communities and families across the state.”

If passed and signed into law, Assemblymember Steck's legislation would be in accordance with a CDC advisory addressed to first responders regarding expanding distribution of overdose-reversing drugs.