For the 2023 legislative season, the original bill to legalize safe consumption site or overdose prevention center (OPC) is now updated as S399A here: https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2023/s399/amendment/a
Please help create an account on the NY senate website, vote “Yes” or “No”, and leave a public comment for the sponsors of the bill. If you need inspiration, here are the comments from Eva
“As a Harlem resident living near the current overdose prevention center (OPC), we have directly felt the negative impact a well intentioned service has brough to the community. The main problem with the service is that it is located in an area that is already over-burdened with social services; within a block from the site is NYC’s largest methadone treatment program that treats 1600 patients a week, the M35 bus stop which brings 1200+ adult only shelter residents to the area from Wards Island. The “meet people where they are at” strategy, while often well-intentioned, end up creating containment zones in cities devastating local small businesses and residents, who are mostly lower incomed residents living in section 8 housing. To see more data related to the over-burdening of Harlem, see our data here: https://greaterharlem.nyc/data/containment-zone/
These well-intentioned social services when congregate together became a magnate that attracts drug users and dealers from all over NY to come. For an OPC to be successful, the city must either not have any of such sites, or roll out 30+ of these sites in short time frame to mitigate the negative community impact of a lone site in one NYC district. Therefore this bill MUST dictate that a wide spread distribution of such site so as to prevent the inevitable pushback from wealthier neighborhoods. In fact, the city should consider mandating such site to each local community health action center and hospital and larger sized healthcare clinics.
Through lived experience as Harlem residents, we have learned the impact of an irresponsibly implemented overdose prevention center first hand. We see that a few open-air drug use and drug dealing scene have sprung up since the site opened about 2-6 blocks away from the site. It is also concerning that 4200+ students goes to 7 schools within 2 blocks from the site including a pre-K school that is located just across the street from the site. Since the opening of the site, this pre-K school recently installed bullet proofed windows on the side facing the site. Clearly, the current site is located too close to schools and zoning regulation has a loop-hole.
We respectfully urge the sponsors of this bill to review our proposed revision to this bill. The guardrails we proposed is based on research of successful models in Europe and parts of Canada and include strengthening community engagement and regulatory and zoning oversight, increasing funding for community security and environmental studies, and strengthening the tracking of the healthcare treatment and outcome the facility users. https://greaterharlem.nyc/ask/nations-first-safe-injection-site/
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further our experience and recommendations.”