ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — With Governor Hochul calling an extraordinary session scheduled for tomorrow, New Yorkers are wasting no time for their voices to be heard. Advocates with VOCAL NY gathered outside the Governor’s Mansion asking that she sign an executive order to authorize overdose prevention centers throughout New York.
“Because, like it’s been said. Every overdose is preventable! Every, single, overdose,” said advocate Casey Hayner. According to the advocacy group an overdose happens every 90 minutes. As of right now, there are two overdose prevention sites – both based in the city.
These are also known as safe consumption sites. These medically supervised facilities would provide access to clean supplies to prevent HIV, Hepatitis C or skin infections. There would also be staff nearby who can administer life-saving drugs like Narcan, in the case of an overdose. Those battling addiction would be able to use drugs without fear of being arrested.
“It’s a resource it’s, it’s a healthcare facility… serve buprenorphine when ready, to get people the resources to treatment when they’re ready, to get housing services, mental health, trauma based, anything you can think of,” said Ash Radliff Community Organizer for VOCAL NY.
The primary goal is to prevent overdose deaths and remove the stigma around drug addiction. The centers would also be able to test for fentanyl in drugs. “If I were not able to test my heroin for fentanyl last summer when I had my first recurrence in eight years, I wouldn’t be here right now. If I didn’t understand ways to keep myself safe due to harm reduction I wouldn’t be here right now,” said Luke Grandis, Upstate Lead Organizer of VOCAL NY.
Advocates cite some form of trauma being the initial cause for drug use. They hope the Governor signs an executive order to implement these centers across New York as soon as possible.