Senator Kemp Hannon
6th District New York
Hannon Named to Senate Task Force on Heroin & Opioid Addiction



Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leaders announced the creation of the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction to examine the rise in use of heroin and other opioids in New York State and develop recommendations for treating and preventing addiction.


The bipartisan task force will be chaired by Senator Phil Boyle (R-C-I, Suffolk County), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.  He will be joined by task force Vice-Chair David Carlucci (D-Rockland), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, and Vice-Chair Michael Nozzolio (R-C, Fayette), Chairman of the Senate Codes Committee.


Hannon and other Task Force members will examine the issues and solicit input from experts and other stakeholders about addiction prevention and treatment options, the rise in heroin and opioid use, and the potential for drug-related crimes and other negative community impacts.  The Task Force will then develop recommendations which will be used to draft legislation to address the issues raised.


Drug addiction is a public health crisis.  New York State took a historic step in adopting I-STOP, a law that reduces access to prescription opioids.  One of the effects of the I-STOP implementation has been the increase in heroin use.   We must ensure addicts can access treatment and that prevention measures are in place.   I am pleased to join the Senate’s Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction and look forward to continuing our work with experts and stakeholders to address this crisis.


The Task Force will also examine the crimes that accompany increases in illegal drug activity.  In February, the New York Times reported that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) heroin seizures in New York State increased 67 percent over the last four years.  The DEA’s New York office “seized 144 kilograms of heroin, nearly 20 percent of its seizures nationwide, valued at roughly $43 million.”


Heroin’s deadly affects are well established, and overdoses are on the rise across the state. Data released by Newsday reported that heroin “killed a record 121 people in Nassau and Suffolk in 2012 and at least 120 last year -- the two highest totals ever recorded.”

The Task Force will hold forums in communities across the state to solicit input from stakeholders and experts and use the information collected to develop recommendations for legislative action.  The first forum, held by task force Chairman Boyle, will take place on April 8, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Van Nostrand Theatre of Suffolk County Community College’s Brentwood Campus, 1001 Crooked Hill Road, Brentwood.

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