More than 13,500 people have died of preventable overdoses since Governor Hochul took office.
Marginalized communities — low-income communities, unstably housed people, older New Yorkers, and Black and Brown neighborhoods — have disproportionately high rates of overdose. Overdose continues to take more New Yorkers’ lives than car accidents, suicides, and homicides combined.
No one needs to die of an overdose.
Overdose deaths are not inevitable; they are a policy failure. Governor Hochul has the authority to expand overdose prevention centers, a proven public health intervention to prevent overdose deaths.
What are Overdose Prevention Centers?
Overdose Prevention Centers (OPCs) are monitored health care settings where people can more safely use pre-obtained drugs under supervision and receive lifesaving care in the event of an overdose. OPCs prevent fatal overdoses and also provide stigma-free health care, counseling, and referrals to health and social services, including drug treatment. This model of community care demonstrates that building safe and healthy communities is possible when we invest in community health over criminalization.
Since opening in November 2021, New York’s two overdose prevention centers have intervened in more than 1,300 overdoses in two neighborhoods.
OPCs are HEALTH: OPCs provide safe, non-judgmental, health services including monitored consumption spaces, drug checking, safer drug use education and clean supplies, hygiene care, food, drop-in spaces, and more. OPCs facilitate better health outcomes for people who use drugs, particularly street houseless individuals and other high-risk populations.
OPCs are SAFETY: Drug overdose is the leading cause of death among houseless New Yorkers. OPCs provide safe spaces to people who would otherwise be forced to use drugs in risky, public settings or alone. OPCs also reduce public drug use and drug-related litter.
OPCs are COMMUNITY: OPCs embrace peer-led models of care, where many staff have lived experience with drug use, sex work, and criminal legal involvement. By providing people who use drugs a support system rooted in understanding and empathy, OPCs build community and belonging.
OPCs are LOVE: Many people who use drugs are self-medicating pain and trauma. OPCs acknowledge drug use while seeing people are more than their drug use. By leading with love, OPCs support wellness and stabilization.
LOS, Overdose Prevention Center Participant