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Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation Providing Substance Abuse Treatment Services and Establishing Citywide Animal Shelters

June 26, 2018

NEW YORK Today, Mayor de Blasio signed seven bills to provide substance abuse treatment and prevention services to New Yorkers. The Mayor also signed a bill requiring the creation of full-time animal shelters in all five boroughs.

“The City is committed to fighting the opioid epidemic with every tool we have. The legislation signed today will help us ensure that all New Yorkers struggling with substance abuse have access to the care they need,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We also know how much New Yorkers love their pets, and this expansion of our shelter system will help more animals  find permanent homes.”

“The opioid epidemic has already taken too many lives and hurt too many families in New York, and I am proud that the Council’s package of legislation on this dire issue will be signed into law today. These treatment, prevention, and education measures will lend an immediate hand to New Yorkers who desperately need help to fight the opioid scourge,” said Speaker Corey Johnson. “I am also thrilled Council Member Vallone’s bill providing for animal shelters in all five boroughs is becoming law today. This has been a pet issue of both of ours for years now, and it is a major step forward for how this city takes care of its furry friends.”

Providing Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention Services

The opioid epidemic has had serious effects on families throughout New York City. Rates of drug overdose deaths in New York City more than doubled between 2010 and 2016, increasing from 8.2 per 100,000 residents in 2010 to 19.9 per 100,000 residents in 2016. DOHMH reports that while drug overdose deaths affect every neighborhood and demographic in New York City, residents of impoverished neighborhoods are the hardest hit.

In March, the Mayor announced an additional $22 million investment in HealingNYC, the citywide plan to combat the opioid epidemic. This new investment will create peer intervention programs at more hospitals across the City, increase naloxone distribution and training on how to use this lifesaving drug, and connect more New Yorkers struggling with substance misuse to treatment. The legislation signed today furthers the critical mission of reducing opioid overdose deaths.

  • Intro 615-A requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to provide opioid overdose reversal drugs, such as naloxone, to all syringe exchange programs operating in the City.

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  • Intro 618-A requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to develop age appropriate educational materials on drug and opioid awareness and prevention.

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  • Intro 623-A requires the Fire Department of New York to report on the number of opioid antagonists the department has available, the number of EMTs and other department employees trained to administer opioid antagonists, and the number of opioid overdose reversal drugs administered by EMTs.

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  • Intro 667-A requires the Department of Social Services to refer individuals residing in Department of Homeless Services’ shelters or HIV/AIDS Service Administration (HASA) facilities that suffered a non-fatal overdose to additional services.

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  • Intro 668-A requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to provide opioid overdose prevention and reversal training to the public

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  • Intro 669-A requires the Municipal Drug Strategy Advisory Council, a council established by Local Law 48 of 2017 and comprised of health care professionals, advocates, and persons suffering from substance misuse disorder, to include in its biennial report the number of opioid overdose reversal drugs that are distributed to City agencies.

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  • Intro 717-A requires the New York City Police Department to report quarterly – to the City Council and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – on the number of opioid antagonists the department has available, the number of officers trained to administer opioid antagonists, and the number of opioid overdose reversal drugs administered by NYPD Officers.

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Establishing Animal Shelters in Every Borough

The de Blasio administration has taken steps to expand and improve the animal shelter system in New York City. Animal Care Centers, the city’s open-admission shelters, have been funded at record levels and have seen historic animal placement. Facilities in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island will receive substantial capital improvements and new shelters will be constructed in the Bronx and Queens.

  • Intro 401-A requires the DOHMH to ensure that full-service animal shelters are operated in all five boroughs by July 1, 2024. While the City operates facilities to receive lost, stray, or homeless dogs and cats in the Bronx and Queens, neither borough is currently served by a full-service animal shelter.

“As the Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction, I am proud of the legislation my colleagues and I have sponsored to curtail our City’s opioid epidemic. These laws will lead to guaranteed resources for syringe exchange programs; greater transparency related to the distribution of opioid antagonists;  increased circulation of materials on drugs and opiate awareness; and additional services for homeless individuals who have experienced a non-fatal overdose. I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio for signing this legislative package into law, as it demonstrates our City’s commitment to combatting this crisis and saving lives,” said Council Member Diana Ayala.

Council Member Justin Brannan said, “I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson for supporting my first bills as a Councilman, and for joining me in fighting to protect New York City students from the opioid epidemic. I could not be prouder to address the lack of opioid education for kids in our city, and I could not be more grateful for your support. Kids are pretty smart. Unfortunately, right now some just don’t know how easily misusing prescription drugs can send them down a very dark path. If we provide that information, I have no doubt it will save some lives. Early education is the best way to combat the disease of addiction—knowledge is power.”

Council Member Andrew Cohen said, “In a time where the amount of opioid overdoses in New York City has continued to rise each year, The Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction believe that it is crucial for the Mayor, City Council, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to have proper up-to-date data regarding the Fire Department of New York use of opioid antagonists. Intro 623-A will require quarterly reporting from FDNY to the City concerning the amount the amount of opioid antagonist that the department is in possession of, how many times these opioid overdose reversal drugs have been administered, as well as the number of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) that are trained to administer opioid antagonist. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Chair; Diana Ayala and my co-sponsors on this bill, Council Members Alicka Ampry-Samuel and Robert Holden for creating legislation aimed at combating this serious epidemic.”

“Throughout the last four years, Speaker Johnson and I have fought to make full service animal shelters a reality for Queens and the Bronx. Only one option is acceptable for this city and the residents of Queens and the Bronx - a fully functional animal shelter with adoption, veterinary and educational services,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “Having animal shelters in every borough reflects our belief that all animals should be protected and given the opportunity to find a home. After almost three decades, five administrations and an uncertain future, we could not afford to wait one more day. I am proud to have passed this important legislation and to stand with Mayor de Blasio as he signs it into law. We are sending a clear message to everyone who has been fighting this battle, even long before we’ve been here, that the greatest city in the world deserves the greatest shelters in the world and this is a legacy we can be proud of.”

“Opioid addiction is a public health crisis, and here in New York City, we need to make full use of all of the tools we have available to combat this epidemic," said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams. "We have the ability to save lives with opioid antagonists like naloxone, and the data collected through the bills we pass today will enable us to effectively use the resources at our disposal to prevent the tragedy of overdose. It is essential that we treat addiction as an issue of health, and address it accordingly. We cannot, as we have in the past, have a varied response depending on the community impacted. I thank the Mayor for recognizing the importance and urgency of this life-and-death issue in signing Intro 717-A, and thank the Speaker and my colleagues on the Council for their actions in making this a priority.

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