While many healthcare and state workers look to fight New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s vaccine mandate, others are calling out her open agenda to allow drug use in the city. People have accused Gov. Hochul of surrendering the state’s war on drugs after signing Senate Bill 2523, which would decriminalize the possession or sale of hypodermic needles and syringes by addicts. The bill has been sponsored by state Sen. Gustavo Rivera and effective Oct. 7. While it was touted as a move to reduce overdose deaths, most people said it is a “death” to downtown and residential neighborhoods across New York.
A directive was even issued to New York Police Department commanders issuing them not to take any enforcement action against individuals who possess hypodermic needles, even if it contains “residue” of a controlled substance. They were ordered to let drug addicts go and shoot up in the streets, even allowing them to share needles as necessary. The memo tells cops that it is no longer a violation for individuals to possess hypodermic needles, even if they did not come from a pharmacy or needle exchange program.
State Sen. Andrew Lanza, one of the few lawmakers to oppose Senate Bill 2523, accused the legislation of saying it’s okay to stick a needle in your arm, pump your body with poison, and lose your life. He said that the law “gives up” on those who are suffering from addiction in New York and that it shows that the state officials just don’t care about them. He said it contravenes any “logical and reasonable science” based on public health standards and that the bill was passed to tell people to keep doing something that will kill them.
Residents complained that they have found drug addicts whacked out in their doorways and in front of their shops, adding that the bill is “outrageous” and another indicator that the quality of life in New York City is deteriorating. Real estate executive William Abramson said that there needs to be something done to help the City addicts, but that letting them shoot up in the street “doesn’t help anyone.” He said the legislation is bad for everyone and does not consider the residents or businesses of the city one bit.
Mayoral hopeful Curtis Sliwa ripped the measure and said it was an “interesting” use of Gov. Hochul’s veto power. Some parts of the state, including outside the Midtown South Precinct on West 35th Street, are already known as the “Valley of Death” due to the availability of drugs in the area. Deaths by drug overdose have already surged by 36% in the five boroughs, with Sliwa adding that the legalization of the possession of hard drugs needs to be “coupled” with getting people off the streets and into effective programs. He said they can’t do one without the other, otherwise, chaos will reign and they will lose the city.
“If all of a sudden some addicts decided to sit down outside Eagle Street in Albany and start injecting right in front of the governor’s mansion, would she tell the state police not to do anything? Sliwa asked.
Sliwa states that if he is elected to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio, then he would “go to war” against Gov. Hochul on this pressing issue. He said Senate Bill 2523 only puts “another nail” in the coffin of New York City’s resurrection and that fighting the opioid epidemic is essential in a larger public health approach. He said they need to solve old problems without creating new ones and, most importantly, keep New Yorkers safe.
Hochul has continued to prove that she is not any better than former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and, in fact, might be adding more fuel to the fire of New York City.