Assemblymember Steck: New Law Will Help Prevent Drug Overdoses, Keep Our Communities Safe

Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced that the Drug Take Back Act, a law which he helped pass, goes into effect January 6, (Ch. 120 of 2018). The law establishes a statewide drug take back program to help fight the opioid epidemic and ensure the safe disposal of prescription drugs.

            Misuse of prescription painkillers can often lead to addiction and abuse of other opioids. According to the National Institute of Health, 80 percent of heroin users started with misuse of prescription opioids. Additionally, as much as 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids will misuse them.[1] With this new law, New Yorkers can get drugs out of their medicine cabinets where they are ripe for abuse.

            “Drug addiction doesn’t care who you are, where you are from or what your background is. Overdoses have taken too many of our family members, friends and neighbors and we need to continue doing everything we can to fight back,” said Assemblymember Steck. “This new law will make it easier to prevent addiction before it takes hold and keep our families safe.”

            The new law requires all manufacturers to implement a drug take back program to accept and dispose of covered drugs and ensure that drop-off locations are reasonably accessible to all New Yorkers. The program will also help ensure that these drugs are not improperly disposed of by flushing down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, which can cause them to seep into the water supply.

The 2018-19 state budget allocated nearly $250 million toward addressing the heroin and opioid crisis, including increased funding to strengthen educational and awareness campaigns, prevention, treatment and recovery programs and residential service opportunities. In 2016, Steck helped pass comprehensive laws to get more people on the road to recovery. The measures increased the maximum time for detox in a treatment facility, required insurers to cover a minimum of 14 days of inpatient treatment as well as substance use disorder medications, allowed more professionals to administer lifesaving Narcan, mandated training in pain management for prescribers to avoid over-prescription of painkillers and limited the amount that can be prescribed for acute pain (Ch. 69, 70 and 71 of 2016).

            “We have made serious strides towards combating the opioid epidemic and providing more resources to those suffering from addiction, but we need to focus on stopping addiction before it strikes,” added Steck. “This law will help prevent opioid abuse and absolutely save lives.”