The New York Police Department (NYPD), upon orders from Albany, directed officers to let drug addicts shoot up on city streets, and even let them share needles.
“Effective immediately, members of the service should not take any enforcement action against any individual who possesses a hypodermic needle, even when it contains residue of a controlled substance,” states a directive to NYPD commanders issued last Friday. Senate Bill 2523, cited in the order to street cops, decriminalizes the possession or sale of hypodermic needles and syringes, commonly used by addicts to inject drugs such as heroin.
The measure, effective Oct. 7, originated in New York City, sponsored by state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, D-Bronx, and was signed into law by Gov. Hochul last week in Manhattan. Neighbors say police presence remains scarce, and outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio has been criticized for ‘coddling addicts’ and not working to get the drugs off the streets. Witnesses in the 24-block radius between 34th and 41st Streets and west of 6th Avenue told The New York Post that the streets are “littered with used needles, broken glass crack pipes, trash, urine, and feces” (Daily Mail).
“This law is a monument to how far we’ve deteriorated as a society in our relationship to the misuse of drugs,” said Luke Nasta, the CEO of Camelot Counseling, a longtime substance abuse treatment center on Staten Island. “The more permissive we get as a society the harder it is for people struggling to rehabilitate.”
“This law says stick a needle in your arm, pump your body with poison and lose your life,” said state Sen. Andrew Lanza, (R-Staten Island) one of the few NYC lawmakers who opposed the legislation. “This law says to people suffering addiction that New York has given up on you, that New York doesn’t care about you.” This bill “was passed under the disguise of compassion, but it’s one of the least compassionate bills I’ve seen come across the legislature in a long time,” he added. “There is nothing compassionate about telling people to keep doing something that is going to kill them” (Republican Times USA).