Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation aimed at combating the sharp rise in heroin and opioid use in New York state.
The Legislature passed 11 heroin-related bills before the 2014 session ended on Friday. Cuomo signed the bills late Monday morning at Binghamton University in the town of Vestal.
The measures include provisions requiring insurance companies to consistently cover treatment for addiction, funding for public awareness of drug use and funding for more New York state troopers to investigate heroin trafficking.
The package creates a new crime in the penal code of “fraud and deceit related to controlled substances” to crack down on doctor shopping, criminalizing behavior by those individuals who obtain or attempt to obtain a controlled substance or a prescription by misrepresenting themselves as a doctor or pharmacist, or presenting a forged prescription.
It also adds the “criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance or of a controlled substance by a practitioner or pharmacist” as a designated offense for purposes of obtaining eavesdropping warrants as well as adding the offense as a “criminal act” for the purposes of prosecuting enterprise corruption cases.
At the signing, Cuomo said one-third of the heroin seized by the Drug Enforcement Agency came from New York. State public health officials say deaths from heroin overdoses in New York more than doubled from 215 in 2008 to 478 in 2012.