A State of Emergency

New York State Senator Pete Harckham, chair of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, called on President Biden and Governor Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in the United States and New York, respectively, to fight the overdose epidemic.

Harckham wants to address the public health crisis and use every public health resource possible to stop the increase in overdose deaths occurring daily. Harckham is urging federal and state officials to act with urgency in order to save the lives of friends, family, and neighbors in New York and around the country. The request follows the release of a report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention stating over 93,000 people in the U.S. died of a drug overdose in 2020. This is an average of about 250 people per day. This is four times the number of people who have died from gun violence where 19,380 lives were lost in comparison.

Governor Cuomo recently declared a state of emergency regarding gun violence and Harckham feels we need similar moral outrage regarding the latest overdose statistics. As Harckham said “It is as if these lost lives simply do not matter, and the specter of future lives lost matters even less…It’s now time to officially declare it so and begin to provide all the resources possible to save lives.”