New York – In recent years, fentanyl analogs have been increasingly found pressed into pill form to resemble name-brand prescription opioids, and in heroin and cocaine being sold in New York State. Compared to 30 milligrams of heroin, just three milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal.
A preliminary analysis conducted by the Department of Health identified more than 2,900 opioid-related deaths among state residents in 2016. Specifically, Staten Island saw a 700 percent increase in overdose deaths involving fentanyl – from seven deaths in 2015 to 58 deaths in 2016.
Statewide, the number of fentanyl-related deaths increased by nearly 160 percent. According to the press release by Governor Cuomo’s office.
There is currently a loophole in state law that has left 11 dangerous fentanyl analogs off New York’s controlled substances schedule. In October 2017, Governor Cuomo proposed new legislation to close this loophole as a result of shocking increases in deaths caused by opioid overdoses and to further New York’s efforts to end the fentanyl crisis.
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a 30-day budget amendment will be advanced to add 11 fentanyl analogs to the state-controlled substances schedule and provide the New York State Health Commissioner the authority to add any new drugs that have been added to the federal schedule, to the state-controlled substances schedule. These actions will support law enforcement in their efforts to stop the spread of lethal drugs in New York State.
“Make no mistake: Fentanyl is potent, dangerous and its abuse is increasingly fueling the misery of the opioid epidemic,” Governor Cuomo said. “These actions will give law enforcement the tools they need to combat this drug, holding the death dealers who peddle it accountable and helping ensure that our laws are able to keep pace with this evolving public health crisis.”
“New York is working aggressively to combat the opioid epidemic, which is tragically affecting families and communities across the state,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Co-Chair of the Heroin and Opioid Task Force. “Fentanyl is especially deadly – we must give law enforcement the tools to take it off our streets and save lives. By adding fentanyl analogs to the controlled substance list, Governor Cuomo is doing just that.”
This 30-day budget amendment will add these fentanyl analogs to Schedule 1 of the controlled substance schedules of New York State Public Health Law §3306. The 11 types of fentanyl to be added include: AH-7921; Acetyl Fentanyl; ButyrylFentanyl; Beta-Hydroxythiofentanyl; Furanyl Fentanyl; U-47700; and Acryl Fentanyl (or Acryloylfentanyl); N-(4-fluorophenyl)-N-(1-phenethylpiperidin-4-yl)isobutyramide; Ortho-Fluorofentanyl; Tetrahydrofuranyl Fentanyl; Methoxyacetyl Fentanyl.
This 30-day budget amendment will also certify that the New York State Health Commissioner has the authority to add to the state-controlled substances schedule any new drugs that have been added to the federal schedule.
The Governor’s budget amendment builds on New York’s multi-pronged strategy to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic. In April of 2017, the Governor signed historic legislation investing over $200 million to address the epidemic through a comprehensive approach targeting each component of heroin and opioid addiction- prevention, treatment, and recovery. Additionally, at the Governor’s direction, the New York State Department of Financial Services took immediate action in October 2017 to prevent insurers from instituting arbitrary limits on coverage for overdose-reversal drugs, ensuring that New Yorkers have access to adequate doses of life-saving naloxone.
New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hours, 7-days-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).
Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, community residence, or outpatient care can be found using the new and improved NYS OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard at FindAddictionTreatment.ny.gov or through the Access Treatment page on the NYS OASAS website. Visit the #CombatAddiction website at oasas.ny.gov/CombatAddiction to learn more about how you can help to #CombatAddiction in your community.
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