NY lawmakers craft legislation to cut heroin abuse

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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the dedication ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial Museum May 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by John Munson-Pool/Getty Images)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – New York lawmakers have agreed on legislation to curb the growing heroin epidemic in New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Wednesday the eight bills include requiring insurance companies to better cover substance-abuse treatment, creating a statewide public awareness campaign to prevent opioid use and harsher penalties to crack down on illegal drug distribution.

The legislation would also require every anti-overdose kit, which contains the drug naloxone, to include an information card on how to administer the drug and how to recognize the symptoms of a heroin and opioid overdose.

Cuomo, a Democrat, says there were more than 89,000 heroin and prescription opiate treatment cases in New York last year, up from roughly 63,000 in 2004.

Experts say today’s heroin is cheaper and more potent than it was in the 1980s.

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