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Bipartisan push in Albany to declare state of emergency amid overdose crisis grows

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

A bipartisan group of 50 New York state lawmakers last week urged Governor Kathy Hochul to declare a state disaster emergency in response to escalating drug overdose deaths. Despite the use of $335 million in opioid settlement funds for anti-overdose efforts, New York continues to experience record-high fatalities, with more than 6,700 deaths statewide last year according to preliminary data.


In contrast to other states where drug death rates have plateaued or declined, New York’s figures remain alarmingly high. This has prompted calls for increased authority to implement more effective drug prevention and treatment measures. The proposed state disaster emergency would facilitate broader and more flexible responses to the crisis, including waiving cost-sharing for treatment and enhancing community-based prevention services.

The urgency of the situation is underscored by the continued influx of street drugs laced with deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl. With national drug-related deaths rising sharply, the lawmakers’ push reflects a critical need to adapt and intensify efforts to combat the overdose epidemic in New York.