Senate GOP touts heroin overdose bill

George Amedore

Senate Republicans are promoting a bill by Sen. George Amedore that would allow authorities to file homicide charges against anyone who sells or gives heroin or other opiate to someone who dies from an overdose after taking it.

Amedore, who is from Schenectady County and represents part of Ulster County, is one of three Republican freshmen that the Senate GOP put in charge of a new “task force on heroin and opioid abuse” last year. The Senate’s Republican majority, with support from many Democrats, passed Amedore’s homicide bill last June, but the Democratic-controlled Assembly didn’t act on it. Amedore reintroduced it in January.

“The State of New York is facing a heroin crisis, and we need to do everything we can to stop the flow of these deadly drugs into our streets,” Amedore said in a statement from the Senate GOP this week. “Our efforts to increase prevention, treatment and recovery to help those suffering with addiction need to go hand-in-hand with stronger penalties for those who are bringing these drugs into our communities.”

His legislation is dubbed “Laree’s Law” after Laree Farrell Lincoln, an Albany-area teenager who died of a heroin overdose three years ago.

Authorities already have options in the state penal code for punishing drug suppliers for their part in such deaths. In January, Orange County prosecutors charged 58-year-old Kevin Pelton of Port Jervis with criminally negligent homicide and manslaughter for injecting a dose of heroin that killed Joseph Vara, his 51-year-old house guest in November.

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