Jacobs Passes Bill to Expand Illegal Substances, Prosecution of Dealers

New legislation also seeks to expand state's overdose prevention network

(Albany, NY) – New York State Senator Chris Jacobs announced passage of a bill he sponsored (S5884) that will add four new derivatives of fentanyl to the controlled substance schedule regulated by the Department of Health.

Fentanyl and fentanyl-combined drugs have been a major driver in many overdoses and deaths that have occurred across the state.  Adding these new derivatives will allow the state to better regulate this potent drug while enabling law enforcement to then arrest and prosecute dealers who use fentanyl to cut the heroin they sell.    

“While the epidemic of heroin and opioid addiction is both a national and statewide concern, Buffalo and Western New York have been hit especially hard,” Senator Jacobs said.  “I am confident that better regulating the flow of these deadly forms of fentanyl will enhance law enforcement’s ability to prosecute dealers and in turn restrict the flow of these illegal substances throughout our community.”   

Jacobs is Co-Chair of the Senate’s Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction.  His bill was part of a broader package of enforcement related measures supported by the Heroin and Opioid Addiction Task Force.  They are in addition to the record level $247 million in funding included in the budget approved in April to strengthen education, prevention and recovery services.  Given the severity of the heroin and opioid epidemic, and the number of lives it has destroyed, Jacobs said he hopes the Assembly and the Governor will take up these measures quickly.

Passage of Jacobs’ bill came on the same day that he introduced legislation that would require insurance companies to provide coverage for opioid antagonists and devices, like narcan, regardless of whether they are to be used on the insured or another patient.  The bill (S8891) empowers a person attempting to be proactive in protecting the life of someone they believe to be at risk. 

“Stiffening penalties for drug dealers and giving law enforcement the tools they need to restrict the flow of illegal substances are critically important elements of our strategic approach to combatting the heroin and opioid epidemic,” said Senator Jacobs.  “It is also critically important that we expand the state’s overdose prevention network.  The measures that were approved and introduced today build upon the treatment and recovery initiatives we secured passage of earlier this year, and they reinforce that our resolve to fight against this public health crisis is as strong as ever.”