BUFFALO, NY – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday announced a series of new actions to combat the fentanyl crisis in communities in Western New York and across New York State.
"Fentanyl is a new front in New York's ongoing fight against opioids, and our laws need to stay one step ahead of dealers who distribute this poison," Cuomo said. "We need to give law enforcement the tools to hold criminals accountable and keep these dangerous substances off our streets and out of the hands of our children."
In Western New York, overdose deaths involving opioids increased 10 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to a news releases from the governor’s office.
A preliminary analysis conducted by the Department of Health identified more than 340 opioid-related deaths among residents across the region in 2016. However, fentanyl-related deaths among residents increased at a much higher rate—more than 40 percent region-wide.
Cuomo plans to advance legislation to add 11 fentanyl analogs to the state controlled substances schedule, giving law enforcement the ability to go after the dealers who manufacture and sell.
He also is directing the New York State Department of Financial Services to take immediate action to advise insurers against placing arbitrary limits on the number of naloxone doses covered by an insurance plan.
“We have witnessed synthetic drugs tear families apart and ruin the lives of far too many individuals, including many who live here in Erie County,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz.
"For too long, the opioid crisis has silently crept through our communities, taking a growing toll of overdose and death for the addicted, and emotional pain for their family and friends, here in the City of Buffalo, and across New York State,” added Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown.