The New York State Senate today gave final legislative passage to a bill that would help reduce the potential for fatalities caused by drug overdoses. The bill (S.4454B), sponsored by Senator John DeFrancisco (R-C-I, Syracuse), is known as a “good Samaritan” measure because it limits the use of evidence of illicit activity when an individual seeks treatment for someone experiencing an accidental drug overdose. “The primary reason people do not call 911 or go to the hospital for an overdose is fear of prosecution,” Senator DeFrancisco said. “This bill doesn’t condone drug use, but rather, acknowledges the importance of helping a victim and spurring a response from witnesses that may help protect the well-being of another person.”
Senator Owen H. Johnson sponsored legislation that helps over 98,000 charities and non-profits in New York continue to provide desperately needed social work services to those in need. The bill (S.5713), passed by the NY Senate on June 17, 2011, grants a nine month extension for charitable organizations to apply for a New York State Education Department waiver that will allow them to continue to lawfully employ licensed social workers and other mental health professionals.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced an $8.2 million grant from FEMA to provide a Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program called ‘Project Hope’ for New Yorkers in the hardest hit areas of Hurricane Sandy. The State Office of Mental Health (OMH) applied for the grant which will provide outreach, crisis counseling and educational services to individuals in New York City, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley. As the state continues to recover from the storm, the program will receive additional funding to expand.