Laini Madhubuti [email protected]
New York, NY – OnPoint NYC, operator of the only recognized overdose prevention centers in the United States, just announced that they have prevented over 1000 potentially fatal overdoses in New York City as the country battles a devastating overdose epidemic. Rhode Island and Minnesota have now allocated funding for overdose prevention centers, and nine additional states have legislation pending. New York overdose prevention centers operate with the support of city and state officials and local law enforcement, but the specter of federal interference means this life saving care remains at risk .
As overdose prevention centers gain traction in the U.S., a New York Times article uplifting the work of OnPoint included a disturbing statement by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to potentially take enforcement action against New York’s overdose prevention centers. While the Department of Justice has taken legal action against Safehouse, a community-based organization in Philadelphia that proposed operating an overdose prevention center, this is the first indication that action could be taken against currently already operating centers authorized at local level and providing critical and necessary care. The Drug Policy Alliance recognizes the life-saving work of OnPoint NYC, and will continue to advocate for the removal of barriers at the state, local, and federal level to allow for the proven life-saving solutions overdose prevention centers provide.
In response to OnPoint NYC’s announcement, Toni Smith, New York State Director at the Drug Policy Alliance, released the following statement:
“In the midst of an unprecedented, unrelenting overdose epidemic, OnPoint NYC, for the past 20 months, has taken bold and compassionate action to save lives. As a result of this success, New York has become a model that cities and states across the country, as well as the federal government, are learning from as the nation works to meet the demands of our current crisis. OnPoint NYC is doing their part to save lives.
Despite U.S Attorney Williams’ comments in the New York Times, the sanctioned overdose prevention centers in NYC were opened and are operated in coordination with city and state agencies, including then Mayor de Blasio and are supported by Mayor Adams. Governor Hochul should immediately authorize overdose prevention centers and the Legislature should pass the Safer Consumption Services Act to expand opportunities to open additional overdose prevention centers and to indicate a show of force to the federal government that states and localities are best positioned to authorize and implement solutions to the overdose crisis.”
About Drug Policy Alliance
The Drug Policy Alliance is the leading organization in the U.S. working to end the drug war, repair its harms, and build a non-punitive, equitable, and regulated drug market. We envision a world that embraces the full humanity of people, regardless of their relationship to drugs. We advocate that the regulation of drugs be grounded in evidence, health, equity, and human rights. In collaboration with other movements and at every policy level, we change laws, advance justice, and save lives. Learn more at drugpolicy.org.