Writing for the Huffington Post, Gabriel Sayegh and Evan Goldstein of the Drug Policy Alliance advocate for smart solutions to the problem of accidental drug overdoses. They write, “New York lawmakers are now considering two very different approaches to address accidental overdose fatalities, but the proposals couldn’t be more different: One bill will most certainly make the problem worse, while the other will likely save lives.”
The writers explain that a Senate bill “is the familiar ‘get tough’ approach: if a person who consumes drugs dies, the person who sold those drugs would be charged with manslaughter. This proposal seeks to reduce overdose deaths by using harsh penalties to deter drug sales; unfortunately, it will neither reduce drug sales nor will it reduce overdose fatalities.” They called the state Assembly’s approach to the problem “a smarter overdose prevention bill.” That bill encourages people to call 911 if they believe they’re witnessing an alcohol or other drug overdose. It prioritizes saving lives over arrests for drug possession, they writers said.