Restaurants and bars are now joining a growing list of businesses that will be able to carry opioid antagonists, like Narcan, in the case of an opioid-related overdose.
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Monday that expands the list of establishments that are allowed to possess and administer opioid overdose reversal medication. This list will now include malls, beauty parlors, theaters, hotels, restaurants, bars and retail establishments.
"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," Cuomo said.
The bill will also give these businesses protection under the "Good Samaritan Law," so they will not be penalized for providing medical attention.
"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," bill sponsor Senator Pete Harckham said.
Since 2018, drug overdoses have been on the rise. Nearly 72,000 Americans passed away from drug overdoses last year, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. This is a 5% increase from 2018.
And this year, the American Medical Association released a report stating that as of July 2020, more than 35 states have seen an increase of opioid related deaths and some cities reported increases between 20% to 40%
"People carrying and administering naloxone often make the difference between life and death for an individual suffering an opioid overdose," Assembly Sponsor Linda Rosenthal said. "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."
This bill goes into effect immediately.