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7 opiod bills signed by Mayor Bill De Blasio

The mandates wider distribution of Naloxone and other products that can stave off opioid deaths.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, signed seven bills intended to broaden access to antidotes that reverse drug overdoses and to teach medics, schoolchildren and the public more about opioids. (Credit: Newsday / Matthew Chayes)

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday signed seven bills intended to broaden access to antidotes that reverse drug overdoses and teach medics, schoolchildren and the public more about opioids.

The law covers schools, homeless shelters, needle exchanges and other places where the city’s anti-opioid message can reach drug users, and prospective drug users.

The legislation also mandates wider distribution of products such as Naloxone and Narcan that can stave off opioid deaths.

Standing beneath a portrait of George Washington at City Hall and fighting back a cold, de Blasio said the legislation would help “fight the scourge of opioids” facing the city.

“Obviously, this is a tragedy occurring all over the state, all over the country,” he said before signing the bills.

In a broader effort to reduce overdoses, the administration has sued opioid manufacturers and proposed city-sanctioned places to shoot up illegal drugs such as heroin.

Under the new law, city-based staff at needle exchange programs must be supplied with “opioid antagonists” such as Naloxone and be trained on how to prevent and reverse overdoses.

The FDNY and NYPD must begin tracking the number of employees trained to administer opioid antidotes and how often antidotes are administered.

Also, middle and high school students will receive educational literature about opiates and other drugs.

At a City Council hearing June 5 on the legislation, Councilwoman Diana Ayala (D-Manhattan/Bronx) said more New Yorkers die of drug overdoses than homicides, suicides and motor-vehicle accidents combined.

Ayala cited statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that about 64,000 Americans died from overdoses in 2016, three-quarters of which were caused by opioids — a 21 percent increase over the prior year.

Jeffrey Reynolds, an addiction specialist and head of the Family and Children’s Association in Mineola, data reporting provisions such as those in the city legislation already are in effect on Long Island.

Reynolds also said most local school districts hand out educational materials.

“As we expand the public distribution of Naloxone, we also have to make sure that we continue to educate recipients about the drug’s expiration dates, the importance of getting medical care after a reversal, the fact that Naloxone only works on heroin and opioids, not alcohol or other drugs, and that more than one dose may be required when the person has overdosed on Fentanyl,” Reynolds said in an email.

On Monday, Nassau County Legis. Joshua Lafazan (I-Woodbury) filed three bills to establish a 24-hour substance-abuse hotline and create a “substance-abuse assistance” smartphone app said Danny Schrafel, spokesman for minority Democrats, with whom Lafazan causes.

New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn), who backed the legislation de Blasio signed, lamented that the government in the past dealt with drugs through criminal laws, rather than “humanity.”

“I’m very glad that we’re providing humanity to substance users who need assistance, cause that’s what always should have been,” Williams said. “But there are people in communities who are still in jail and still have criminal records for the same issue, even if the drug of choice was different, and that’s unfortunate.”

With Nicole Fuller

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