Socialist and progressive metropolis council members wish to advance a invoice that might pay drug customers to return spent paraphernalia because the variety of discarded needles in New York Metropolis has greater than doubled over the past 12 months.
The proposed cash-for-addicts program “would authorize the [Department of Health and Mental Hygiene] to set the buyback incentive, as much as 20 cents per needle, syringe or sharp, with a cap of $10 per particular person per day,” in accordance to the laws. The one-year pilot program would then be evaluated by DOHMH which might then resolve whether or not to make it a everlasting a part of metropolis life.
This system will solely be open to druggies who use a needle, syringe, or sharp for drug use at a metropolis overdose prevention heart (OPC) and discard the paraphernalia on web site after use.
The prime sponsor of the invoice is East Harlem Councilwoman and Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala, however the thought has attracted a bevy of assist from the chamber’s most far-left and socialists members, together with Chi A. Ossé, Shahana Okay. Hanif, and Alexa Avilés.
Reps for Ayala didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark, however on Twitter, she mentioned “the intent of the invoice is to get these of us which are utilizing on our streets and open areas to carry again the soiled needle (presumably to OPC web site) versus discarding them improperly.”
Mayor Adams too — regardless of his one-time “struggle” with metropolis socialists — advised The Put up he was favorably disposed towards the proposal.
“We welcome partnership with the Council to advertise secure disposal of syringes and tackle group issues, and can overview the laws,” his workplace mentioned.
In a council listening to Tuesday, nevertheless, even metropolis officers had been doubtful about providing junkies a rush of chilly laborious money after their hit.
Dr. Michael McRae, deputy commissioner of the division of psychological hygiene at DOHMH mentioned whereas he discovered the invoice’s intentions admirable, junkies utilizing needles at metropolis services had been already required to soundly eliminate them earlier than leaving.
“We share the aim of the laws to advertise secure disposal of syringes and tackle syringe litter issues, nevertheless beneath present OPC operations, individuals should use tools offered by the OPC and should discard tools earlier than leaving,” he mentioned.
“It wouldn’t actually be addressing issues with syringes going again into the group,” McRae advised later Democratic councilman Erik Bottcher.
Different critics mentioned the strategy was misguided.
“It’s not going to learn the one who is the drug addict who’s utilizing the needles. It could possibly be dangerous to the one who is amassing these needles. And who’s paying the [twenty] cents per needle? The place is that cash coming from? I believe the taxpayers are paying for sufficient!,” mentioned Queens GOP councilwoman Joann Ariola.
The legislation comes as town faces an epidemic of used drug needles discarded all throughout the 5 boroughs. In Fiscal Yr 2022, the Division of Sanitation environmental police unit collected 69,692 discarded or improperly disposed needles, greater than double the 32,252 collected throughout the identical interval of 2021.
The spike tracks a legislation signed by Gov. Hochul in October 2021 which decriminalized the possession and sale of hypodermic needles and syringes in addition to limits on what number of syringes a pharmacy can present. That very same month NYPD officers had been ordered to face down and permit addicts to shoot up in public with out interference.
“Persons are encountering syringes in larger and larger numbers and evidently it’s a giant concern. Folks don’t know what to do and so they aren’t having a lot luck with the Division of Sanitation,” a annoyed Bottcher mentioned in the course of the listening to.
Edward Mamet, a retired NYPD captain, mentioned there was completely a correlation between the Hochul drug legal guidelines and a spike in discarded needles.
“Once I was within the narcotics bureau, we used to arrest individuals for possession of needles. Possession alone was a foundation for a misdemeanor arrest. There’s been a complete abandoning of that coverage,” he mentioned.