Gov. Hochul bill to combat opioid crisis decriminalizes public use, sale of needles and syringes

ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a package of bills into law Thursday aimed at combating the opioid crisis — including one bill that decriminalizes the public possession and sale of hypodermic needles and syringes. 

The new law — effective immediately — eliminates a section of the state’s penal code that says possessing a needle or syringe in public is a class-A misdemeanor.

Under the old law, individuals were permitted to obtain needles and syringes from pharmacies or medical sites sanctioned by the state Department of Health’s “Expanded Syringe Access Program,” but they were still getting arrested as a strict interpretation said unlawful possession or sale was

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