New York State Senator Fred Akshar of Colesville, who co-chairs the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, says he is proud of the process leading to the Senate passage of a package of bills that would hold dealers more accountable, improve regulation of synthetic drugs and improve treatment programs. The package also boosts programs to protect children.

Several hearing sessions were held around the state to get input from law enforcement, treatment experts and people directly affected by the epidemic.

$214 million has been secured in the state budget to address the problem.

The Senate legislation establishes the crime of homicide for the sale of an opiate that causes the death of a user, creates drug free zones around treatment centers, establishes new penalties for heroin sales, makes prosecution of heroin dealers easier and cracks down on black market sale of prescription drugs.

The measures also increase regulations on fentanyl and the sale of carfentil, works to keep children away from drugs, requires counseling before opioids are prescribed and expands access to funding for state abuse services.