According to data from the Center for Disease Control, overdoses in New York City went up 36 percent last year while state officials told NYPD officers not to interfere with public drug use on Friday. In a 12 month period ending on March 31, there were 2,243 drug-related overdoses compared to 1653 in the previous 12 months.

The agency stated that the total count for the most recent 12 months might be underreported due to incomplete data. That the crisis might be worse than officials realize.

According to numbers from the CDC, 1,853 people died from opioid overdoses, which is an increase of 45 percent from the previous 12 months. A minimum of 908 people died from cocaine overdoses, representing a 35 percent increase from the last 12 months. Heroin overdoses were up 15 percent, with 800 people overdosing on the drug this past year.

Despite the crisis, NYPD commanders were given an order not to interfere with public drug use on Friday.

“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,” – Directive to NYPD Commanders 

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The policy comes from Senate Bill 2523 signed into law by New York Governor Kathy Hochul, which decriminalizes the possession of hypodermic needles and syringes. The Bill went into effect on October 7.

 “it is no longer a violation of law for an individual to possess a hypodermic needle, even when it did not come from a pharmacy or a needle exchange program” – Senate Bill 2523

There has been a dramatic increase in crime in the Manhattan Garment District near Penn Station. According to neighbors in a 24 block radius of that area, the streets are littered with used needles, broken crack pipes, trash, urine, and feces.

“People live here, and despite reporting and pleading with the NYPD to patrol more down this block, they are not doing anything to try and catch these dealers.”
“I’ve personally seen dozens of deals go down. I’ve seen a person OD and nearly die,”
“This is the worst this block has ever been,” – Quotes from neighbors.

This piece was written by Zach Heilman on October 17, 2021. It originally appeared in RedVoiceMedia.com and is used by permission.

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