Albany, NY – Assemblymember Amy Paulin has authored legislation which would amend Section 390-a of New York State Social Services Law to require inspectors of day care centers, programs, and facilities to be trained in the detection of controlled substances. “It is critical to the safety of our most vulnerable that we start to train New York State inspectors to look for controlled substances during inspections of childcare centers,” said Assemblywoman and Assembly Health Committee Chair Amy Paulin. “The law must be updated to reflect the society we live in, where these facilities and other seemingly unsuspicious places are being used to hide fentanyl and other illegal and deadly drugs.”
On September 15, 2023, a kilogram of fentanyl was found at a Bronx day care site after the owner of the day care called 911 to report that four children in her care, all under the age of three, were unresponsive. One child was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly thereafter, and the other three children were hospitalized with serious injuries and given Narcan.
Just a week prior, on September 6th, inspectors made an unannounced visit to the day care to inspect the site. The inspector found the day care center to be in full compliance with all laws and regulations and no violations were found.
A few days following this horrific tragedy, the Commissioner of New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene stated, “one of the things my childcare inspectors are not trained to do is look for fentanyl, but maybe we need to start.” Further explaining, “that has not been a part of our thinking for decades or years in doing this work.”
Sadly, this is not the first time a licensed day care center has been used as a front to traffic drugs. In 2013, more than a kilogram of cocaine, over 1,000 pills of oxycodone and 150 grams of crack-cocaine were found in a house licensed as a day care center in New York City.
“By training our inspectors to look for fentanyl, cocaine, or other controlled substances during inspections,” continued Paulin. “We can protect children and prevent senseless tragedies like this from happening again in the future.”