Governor Cuomo signs new anti-heroin laws in Rochester

Updated: 06/24/2014 7:43 PM
Created: 06/24/2014 8:46 AM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean

There was a passionate charge Tuesday from a mother whose son is battling the worst drug epidemic in our area. Four months ago, Lori Drescher says her son was nearly dead because of heroin. Now he is in recovery.

Drescher spoke in Rochester at Governor Andrew Cuomo’s bill signing for the state’s new tough, anti-heroin law. The new law adds more than 100 more state police investigators and puts the heroin antidote, naloxone, in the hands of every police officer in the state. The law also gets tough on insurance companies and starts an education program for young people and college students.

The governor’s message plays on the terrorism prevention slogan, which is “If you see something, say something.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “If you know something, do something. Don't think it's the other person's responsibility, or someone else is going to do it. Assume the responsibility yourself.”

New York is ground zero when it comes to heroin. A third of the heroin seized in the country was seized in New York and deaths from heroin in New York doubled in the last four years. Young suburban kids are getting addicted.

When the governor signed the anti-heroin law, the crowd cheered including Jonathan Drescher. So far, he has survived his seven year heroin addiction.

Jonathan Drescher said, “Really lucky to have a family that was able to send me somewhere that I could get a chance to recover.”

Jonathan’s mother testified to the state, trying to get the anti-heroin law passed.

Lori Drescher said, “What started as recreational attraction to a readily available prescription pill soon turned into full-fledged addiction.”

Lori Drescher talked about insurance companies denying treatment, hospitals turning her son away because he wasn't suicidal at the moment. At what she calls her darkest moment, with Jonathan near death, she testified to the state panel debating the anti-heroin law.

Lori Drescher said, “I had no choice but to help shine a light on the issues preventing people like my son from gaining access to affordable appropriate treatment.”

Lori was with the governor when he made it law Tuesday.

Dr. Michael Foster counsels heroin addicts at Unity Hospital in Greece. He thinks the biggest effect will be on insurance companies with more mandated coverage and faster appeals for denials.

Dr. Michael Foster, Unity Hospital, said, “This won't make it a completely smooth path, but I think it will make it a lot more manageable.”

Most heroin addicts start by getting addicted to prescription pills they find in the medicine cabinet.

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