Harckham and Senate Pass Bill Requiring a Statewide Directory of Overdose Medication Distributors

State Sen. Pete Harckham

Albany, NY – New York State Senator Pete Harckham and his Senate colleagues approved today legislation (S.6044) that will require the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) to maintain on its website a statewide directory of all distributors of opioid antagonists—medications that include naloxone, which can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.

“Residents need to have ready access to opioid antagonists to help save loved ones and neighbors from overdoses, and an online directory of where to find these life saving medications will aid their efforts,” said Harckham, who introduced the new bill. “The increase in opioid overdoses during the coronavirus pandemic merely emphasizes that we must do everything we can to stop this most recent trend.”

Among the tools in the harm reduction arsenal through which New York State can address the opioid epidemic, naloxone and other opioid antagonists have the power to save a person from death in the aftermath of an overdose. Unfortunately, many New Yorkers, outside of trained emergency and medical professionals, often do not know where they can go to equip themselves with a naloxone kit.

It is now more essential than ever that a resident, concerned for his or her own safety or the safety of a loved one, be able to identify the nearest access point of naloxone accurately and quickly, said Harckham. Once the legislation is passed in the State Legislature and signed by the governor, the OASAS website will list all distributors of opioid antagonists—pharmacies, prevention centers, nonprofits organizations and more.

This expanded access to opioid antagonists will have a direct correlation with lives saved, and the public’s ability to locate distributors will empower all New Yorkers to equip themselves to save a life.