New bills, more officers to curb heroin scourge


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— New York's Republican-led Senate has passed a series of bills to curb heroin use.

On June 9 the Senate passed 23 of the 25 bills introduced last month following a series of forums around the state on heroin and opioid use.

The legislative package seeks to limit prescriptions of opioids for acute pain and allow schools to administer naloxone, an antidote for heroin and opioid overdoses. It also creates a statewide heroin awareness program and increases penalties afor selling drugs on playgrounds.

With more than 30 heroin-related bills in the upper chamber from both sides of the aisle, some Democrats are wary that some of the measures are reminiscent of Rockefeller drug laws and simply increase criminal penalties.

The bills go to the Democratic-led Assembly, which is currently holding its own heroin forums.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is adding 100 investigators to the state police narcotics unit to combat the rise of heroin use.

The additional 100 members would double the size of the Narcotics Enforcement Team. Cuomo said June 11 that the state will also launch an effort to supply first responders with a heroin and opioid antidote.

The Democrat also announced an awareness campaign in public colleges and universities.

Cuomo says there were more than 89,000 cases of heroin and prescription treatment admissions in New York in 2013, up from 63,000 in 2004.

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