New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday the state will add 100 State Police investigators to drug units in order to fight the growing heroin problem. “In the ’70s we had a heroin epidemic. This is worse than what we went through before,” he said.
The investigators will work with local police agencies, The New York Times reports. Cuomo said he will use state money to put the opioid overdose antidote naloxone in the vehicles of emergency medical workers, including firefighters and state troopers.
About one-third of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s heroin seizures nationwide are in the New York area, Cuomo said.
This week the State Senate passed a package of bills designed to fight heroin abuse. The Assembly is expected to pass many of the measures, the article notes. They include increasing access to treatment, and public education campaigns to end the stigma of addiction. Heroin and opioid pill abuse awareness will be part of orientation for incoming students at every state campus, Cuomo said. University police will be trained in how to use naloxone.
“When it gets into our suburbs, into our rural areas, into our high schools, into our colleges, it is so much more obvious because it wasn’t there before,” said Joseph D’Amico, the Superintendent of the State Police. “But it’s not just a suburban problem. It’s everywhere.”