Advocates and state lawmakers are calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to approve legislation that is meant to expand access to naloxone amid a rise in opioid overdoses across the country and in New York. 

Naloxone is used as a key counteragent, meant to curtail the effects of an opioid overdose and prevent deaths from occurring. 

The measure would require medical professionals to co-prescribe naloxone alongside an opioid prescription if patient risk factors are believed to be present. 

Public health advocates and policymakers are increasingly alarmed by a rise in overdose deaths that has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic over the last 19 months. The Democratic-led state Senate on Wednesday is set to hold a public hearing on the issue.

"The opioid overdose epidemic that our country is experiencing right now necessitates that residents in our communities have greater access to an opioid antagonist so they can help save a life whenever possible," said Sen. Peter Harckham. "Co-prescribing an opioid antagonist for certain at-risk individuals makes sense should an emergency arise, and I look forward to Gov. Hochul signing the bill into law."

Hochul earlier this month approved a package of bills meant to reduce opioid-related overdoses in the state.