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Maloney Introduces Life-saving Librarians Act to Stop Heroin and Opioid Overdose Deaths

Oct 31, 2017
Press Release

Middletown, NY – In response to the increasing number of heroin and opioid overdoses in libraries here in the Hudson Valley and across the country, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) introduced the Life-saving Librarians Act to empower unlikely heroes in the fight against overdose deaths. Unfortunately, libraries have become a common site for opioid and heroin overdoses. Library staff have responded by educating themselves on the use of Narcan, an antidote which immediately reverses the effects of overdoses.

“Library staff across the country are ready to save lives when people overdose – now it’s up to us to make sure they have the training and tools they need to provide immediate assistance to people who are struggling with addiction,” said Rep. Maloney. “New York State’s programs that provide this training are proven lifesavers – and it’s time we build on that success and take these programs nationwide.”  

“The opioid crisis is having a detrimental effect on our communities,” said Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther. “I want to thank Congressman Maloney for leading the way to ensure our librarians have the training they need to help fight this epidemic.”

“The problem of people overdosing at libraries in Orange County has become too common, and we need to make sure our library staff are trained to save lives,” said Orange County Legislator Jeff Berkman. “I want to thank Rep. Maloney for taking this seriously and introducing legislation to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic in our area.”

“I fully support the Congressman’s efforts in fighting the opioid epidemic,” said Orange County Legislator Michael Paduch. “Educating and training as many people as possible will reduce the overwhelming tragedies that are affecting families throughout this country.”

“The opioid epidemic is at a level I have not seen in my forty years in law enforcement,” said Orange County Sheriff Carl E. DuBois. “We must cooperate as partners on all levels and agencies in government to deal with this issue that affects us all.”

“I would like to thank Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney for his continued efforts and support he has given the City of Middletown over his tenure in Office,” said Middletown Mayor Joe DeStefano. “This new legislation to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic will now help librarians across his district that are saving lives threatened by opioid overdoses every day. Thanks to this legislation, Representative Maloney’s new bill will create Federal grant programs to allow public libraries to train staff and purchase Narcan without draining their budgets and it will be a win/win for libraries, cities, towns and municipalities across Congressman Maloney’s District.  We are fortunate to have Congressman Maloney fighting for all of us and our Children and families on this issue, I commend and applaud him.”  

“Public libraries provide essential services to our communities,” said Thrall Library Executive Director Matt Pfisterer. “Fulfilling this mission often requires us to face challenges and adapt to changing environments.  Librarians, library workers and library boards have a long history of overcoming obstacles so that we can continue to provide these essential services which our communities need now more than ever.“  

Libraries in Middletown and Newburgh have been the site of several overdoses in recent years. Luckily in those cases, law enforcement officers responded quickly enough to administer Narcan before it was too late. Thrall Library staff have since taken training courses in partnership with a local drug treatment facility and received state investments through the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services to procure Narcan kits.

The Life-saving Librarians Act directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a grant program to allow public libraries in High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs) to purchase naloxone rescue kits and/or provide training to enable employees to use naloxone rescue kits. Each of the counties in Rep. Maloney’s district is designated as part of the New York/New Jersey HIDTA, meaning public libraries throughout the lower Hudson Valley qualify for the federal investments established by the Life-saving Librarians Act.

Combating the heroin and opioid epidemic is one of Rep. Maloney’s top priorities. Last year, Rep. Maloney’s legislation to combat opioid abuse by improving education for prescribing physicians and incentivizing the pharmaceutical industry to include anti-abuse properties in new medications was signed into law as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). In March, Rep. Maloney introduced the Keeping Communities Safe Through Treatment Act, which would provide law enforcement with the option to divert low-level drug offenders directly to treatment instead of booking them and sending them through the criminal justice system. Rep. Maloney also recently authored an op-ed on the need for new solutions to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic. Just last week, Rep. Maloney visited Saint Christopher’s Inn in Garrison to receive Narcan training and meet with people recovering from addictions. Community members, especially parents, are encouraged to download Rep. Maloney’s Know the Signs Tip sheet and Community Resource Guide.