VESTAL, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation aimed at combating the sharp rise in heroin and opioid use in New York state.
The Legislature passed 11 heroin-related bills before the 2014 session ended on Friday. Cuomo signed the bills late Monday morning at Binghamton University in the town of Vestal.
The measures include provisions requiring insurance companies to consistently cover treatment for addiction, funding for public awareness of drug use and funding for more New York state troopers to investigate heroin trafficking.
At the signing, Cuomo, a Democrat said a third of heroin seized by the Drug Enforcement Agency came from New York. State public health officials say deaths from heroin overdoses in New York more than doubled from 215 in 2008 to 478 in 2012.
“We had heroin in the ’60s. Well this is worse. It is more potent than ever before, it’s less expensive than ever before, you can get a heroin bag for $5, $10,” Cuomo said.
The law also provides for proper and safe use of the drug known as Narcan, which can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose. Many local law enforcement agencies, firefighters, and State Police have already been trained how to use it.