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Bipartisan bill to broaden use of heroin overdose drug passes unanimously in NY

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The New York State legislature has unanimously passed a bill to broaden access to Narcan, the heroin over-dose medication, first by allowing prescriptions to drug counseling groups that deal with addicts, and secondly to permit pharmacies to distribute it to family members coping with addicts. The bill now goes to Governor Cuomo for his signature. If signed, it would be the second time New York has broadened use of the drug this year.

New York’s attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman has already announced that he would authorize $5 million to supply 39 police agencies throughout the state with Narcan kits, which are now being used on Long Island. In fact, it I now estimated that heroin use has increased nearly 4 times what it was in 2011, where 120 deaths from overdoses were recorded in Nassau and Suffolk County last year alone.

“The naxolone (Narcan) bill is one more weapon in our arsenal of trying to deal with the heroin epidemic,” commented Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City), noting that the bipartisan passage of it underscored the urgency to act.