Top Democratic legislators are being urged by 73 advocacy organizations to support the approval of supervised injection sites in New York in order to stem the sharp rise in overdose deaths in the state. 

The groups in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Thursday called for the passage of the measure as the legislative session faces the final three weeks of 2023. 

"Without significant implementation of evidence-based solutions from our government, it is inevitable that we will continue to lose thousands of New Yorkers from preventable overdoses every year moving forward," the groups wrote in the letter. "As the rates of overdose continue to surge in Black and Brown communities especially, it is clear that there is a lack of investment and resources in New York’s most marginalized communities. To not listen to the needs of New Yorkers is both a moral and political failing."

Signing on to the letter included progressive organizations like VOCAL-NY and Make the Road New York. 

Supporters of allowing the sites have argued they provide a safe facility for people struggling with addiction. There are currently two privately owned sites in New York City. 

But opponents have contended New York officials should not be involved in allowing people to use illicit substances. 

"I don't think we should just surrender and say, 'people are going to do this,' " Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay said in March. "I think, if anything, we should do more drug prevention programs, more programs to help people who are addicted get off drugs."

Overdose deaths have steadily risen in New York over the last several years, an increase that has coincided with the societal disruptions of the COVID pandemic. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul has said her administration has explored the issue, but pointed to the questions surrounding legality on the federal level.