August 24, 2020 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation (S8259/A7812A) authorizing the use of opioid antagonists by additional people and entities for opioid overdose prevention.
This measure expands the entities authorized to possess, distribute and administer an opioid overdose reversal medication to restaurants, bars, malls, beauty parlors, theaters, hotels and retail establishments by adding them to the list of entities that are provided additional protection to encourage the possession and use of opioid antagonists. This measure will take effect immediately.
"We have made tremendous progress in combating addiction across New York and while we have seen a reduction in opioid deaths over the past 10 years, there is still work to be done," Governor Cuomo said. "This expansion of the Good Samaritan law gives additional entities the ability to save the life of an individual suffering from addiction without penalty. New York State will continue to do everything we can to expand access to critical care as we fight this deadly scourge and save lives."
Opioid-related overdose deaths frequently occur in public spaces. Yet, many of these public spaces have restricted the administration of Naloxone on their premises due to the concern that they would not be covered under the current Good Samaritan law. This measure clarifies the application the law to ensure that as many entities as possible are covered under the law.
Senator Pete Harckham, Chair of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse said, "Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the State Legislature deserve thanks for helping me make opioid overdose reversal medications more readily available in public gathering places, which will save countless lives each year. And by authorizing the use of these reversal drugs without fear of liability, this new law will also provide peace of mind to residents and business owners around the state who are inclined to help those in desperate need of help."
Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse said, "People carrying and administering naloxone often make the difference between life and death for an individual suffering an opioid overdose. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen overdose rates increasing nationwide, making access to naloxone even more critical in order to save lives and help individuals enter treatment. This new law will convey Good Samaritan protections and allow people in public accommodations around the State, including bars, restaurants and retail establishments, to carry and administer naloxone to those who may be suffering an overdose. As we continue to grapple with the overlapping opioid epidemic and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding access to naloxone will be key to our efforts to save lives."