April 27, 2022

Honorable Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Honorable Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie

NYS Capitol Building Albany, NY 12224

Re: Safer Consumption Services Act (S603/A224), Senator Rivera & Assembly Member L. Rosenthal

Dear Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Carl Heastie,

We write to you as 250 healthcare workers, researchers, and health officials on the front line of New York State’s overdose crisis to urge swift and decisive action to address the overdose crisis in our state through passing the Safer Consumption Services Act (S603/A224), the evidence-based legislation to authorize overdose prevention centers (OPCs) in high need areas across New York State.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 5,680 New Yorkers died from preventable overdoses in the 12 months ending in September 2021. This was the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in our state, and surpassed the number of deaths from gun violence, suicides, and motor vehicle accidents combined. Overdose now represents the leading cause of death for New Yorkers under 50 years old. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the urgency of the overdose crisis.

New York State has taken some important steps to address overdose, most recently expanding access to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) and committing to expanding access to harm reduction and prevention efforts. These are important actions with measurable benefits that state lawmakers should continue to support. But New York must do more. All data are demonstrating that the overdose crisis will continue to surge, and as providers we desperately need more tools to help us save lives. OPCs are a critical, lifesaving tool that our clients and communities deserve.

Overdose prevention centers benefit local communities by offering sterile supplies and controlled settings for people to use pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of trained professionals who intervene in the event of an overdose or other medical emergencies. The Centers fill other previously unmet needs for the people they serve: they link people to counseling and provide referrals to health and social services, including drug treatment. OPCs improve neighborhoods by moving drug use to safe spaces indoors, reducing syringe litter in public spaces. Most importantly, there has never been a fatal overdose at any of these centers. Approximately 100 OPCs have been operating in 66 cities around the world for over 35 years.

We know that OPCs save lives. They prevent infections (like HIV, hepatitis C, endocarditis, and abscesses) and fatal overdoses. In doing so, they keep participants safe and reduce the likelihood of emergency room visits and hospital admissions. OPCs are likely to reduce strain on health care systems and emergency providers already taxed by COVID-19. At the same time, they provide an important point of access to appropriate healthcare for underserved patients. They reduce stigma for our clients, and they keep communities safe and healthy. For far too long we have had to point to the success of these lifesaving programs in other countries. Now, there is no need to speculate on their effectiveness in the U.S. – in late November of 2021, the first two sanctioned OPCs in the nation opened in New York City.

OnPoint, the organization operating the two sites, added OPCs to their previously established Syringe Service Programs in Washington Heights and East Harlem - neighborhoods with high rates of overdoses. The OPCs have significantly added to pre-existing, wraparound services by allowing participants to use drugs under the supervision of trained staff. In the first three months of operation, OnPoint has reversed 250 potentially fatal overdoses —more than the city health department predicted they would prevent in a whole year. The program has also diverted over 50,000 syringes and injection supplies from public spaces and has run an ongoing community syringe cleanup program.

Overdose prevention centers work. They have proven highly effective at reducing overdoses and making communities safer around the world, and OnPoint has demonstrated that they can be highly effective in our state. With more New Yorkers dying from opioid overdoses than ever, the time to act is now.

We, the undersigned 250 health professionals from across New York State, urge you to authorize this life-saving intervention throughout the state by passing the Safer Consumption Services Act this legislative session.



Aaron D. Fox, MD MS

Aaron Shapiro, MD, MPH

Aaron Siegel

Abhishek Mogili, BS

Adriana Pero, Medical Student

Adriel Gerard, MD

Aidan Pillard, MPH

Alexander Azan, MD

Alexander Jordan, MD

Alexander Ledet, MD/PhD Student

Alli Morgan, PhD

Allison Halpren

Amanda Mengotto, Medical Student

Andrea Jakubowski, MD, MS

Andrew Goldstein, MD, MPH

Andrew Nicolais M.S, Medical Student

Angela Calhoun, MD

Angela Lee, MD

Anish Kumar, Medical Student

Ann Winters, MD

Anna Blech, Medical Student

Anna Huh, MD

Anne Swido, NP

Annette Georgia, MD

Anthony Carino, MD

Anushri Nimbvikar, Medical Student

Archie Jao, MD, MPH, AAHIVS

Ariel Korn, RN

Armel Dogruluk, DNP, FNP-BC

Arvind V. Murali, Medical Student

Ashley Brown, Medical Student

Ashley Rosenberg, BS, EMT, Medical Student

Ayman Mohammad, Medical Student

Bailey Frohlich, Medical Student

Benjamin Asriel, MD MFA

Benjamin Eckhardt, Medical Student

Benjamin Hayes, MD, MPH, MSW

Betty Kolod, MD, MPH

Beverley McAlpin, FNP

Bonnie Coover, FNP

Brett Bell, MS, Medical Student

Brian Hackel, MS

Brittany Heins, MD

Bruce G. Trigg, MD

Cara Coren, MD, Medical Student

Carissa Pelzel, FNP

Carly Fiest, Medical Student

Carol Kessler MD, MDiv

Carolina Miranda, MD

Catherine Stratis, Medical Student

Cecilia Crews, MPH Student

Chinmayi Venkatram, Medical Student

Colby Parsons, Medical Student

Corey Costa PA-C

Courtney Pladsen, DNP, FNP

Cynthia Luo, Medical Student

Daizy Perales MA

Daniel Baboolal, Medical Student

Daniel Gillespie, MSN, AGPCNP-BC

Daniel Huang BS, Medical Student

Daniel Liu, BS, Medical Student

Daniel Lugassy, MD

Daniel Rosa

David C. Perlman, MD

David Himmelstein, MD

Deborah Herdan RN

Dhruv Sarin MD MPH

Dr. Glen McWilliams, President

Elena Baldwin, Medical Student

Elise K. Richman, MD

Elizabeth McGriff CWTU

Elizabeth Wood, Medical Student

Ellen Tattelman, MD

Emily Gerteis

Emily Schwenger, MD/PhD Candidate

Emily Xu, BS, Medical Student

Emma Brezel, Medical Student

Erin Goss, MD

Ernest S. Egu, MD

Evelyn Zhang, Medical Student

Ezequiel Ramos, MS, Medical Student

Giliane Joseph, MD

Iman Hassan MD MS

Irfan Azam MD MPH

Isabelle Kornblau, Medical Student

Isidra Rodriguez-Veve, Medical Student

Jack Zhang, MS, Medical Student

Jacquelin Ho, Medical Student

JB medical researcher

Jeffrey Selzer, MD

Jeffrey Weiss, PhD, MS

Jenna Butner, MD

Jennifer Sugijanto, Medical Student

Jennifer Werner, FNP-BC

Jessica Cornfeld, RN

Jessica Ho, MPH

Jessica Tan, MD/PhD student

Jill Maddox, MD


Joanna Frank

Joanna Fried, MD

Joanna Starrels, MD, MS

Jonathan E. Alpert MD PhD

Jonathan Giftos, MD, AAHIVS

Jonathan Ross MD


Josh Park, BS, Medical Student

Joyce A. Rivera, ABD

Judith Katz MD

Julia Benville, Medical Student

Julian Sackey, Medical Student

Julie Byrnes, Medical Student

Julie Marcus, PhD

Kaitlin Brown, MSN

Kaitlyn Clausell

Kara Ryan MD

Kara Ryan, MD

Karalyn Dennis, FNP-BC AAHIVS

Karen Becker, MD, MPH

Kartik Menon

Kate Jenkins, MD

Kate Mannion FNP

Kate Moody, BS, Medical Student

Katherine Mullins MD

Katie Mead, Medical Student

Kelly Doran, MD, MHS

Kelly King

Kelseanne Breder, PhD, PMHNP

Kevin Weiss, MPH

Kim Rodriguez-Loggins

Kimberleigh Smith

Kimberly L Sue, MD, PhD

Kristine Torres-Lockhart, MD

Kristine Torres-Lockhart, MD

Lance Austein MD

Laura Sirbu, MD

Lauren Hall, Medical Student

Lauren Wessler, MD

Lee Isaacsohn MD

Libby Wetterer MD

Lipi Roy, MD, MPH, FASAM

Lisa Baron, M.D.

Liza Magill, Medical Student

Lloyd Simon MD, FASAM, FACP

Lucy Greenwald, Medical Student

Lucy Schultz, MA, Medical Student

Lynda Karig Hohmann, MD, PhD, MBA, FAAFP

M Dougherty, LCSW

Mackenzie Mitchell, Medical Student

Madeline Villalba, Medical Student

Madison Wanamaker, Medical Student

Marc Henry Estriplet MD MPH

Marcus Weeks, Medical Student

Margaret Shyu, MD

Maria Gervits, MD

Mariya Masyukova, MD, MS

Marvin S Rabinowitz, MD

Mary Gover, MD

MaryKelly McCarthy MPH

Matthew Holm, MD

Matthew Kuntzman, Medical Student

Maureen Regan, MSN

Meredith McCarthy

Michael Zingman, MD MPH

Michele Buonora, MD, MS

Miriam Fisher

Miriam Fisher MS

Musaub Khan, MD

Nancy Forman, MD

Nancy Sanon DNP, FNP

Natalie Berger, Medical Student

Natan Vega Potler, MD

Nicole Franchi, PMHNP-BC

Nicole Muehleisen

Nicole Stratton, Medical Student

Nikita Israni, Medical Student

Nupur Shridhar

Oladimeji Oki, MD

Olivia Howell, Medical Student

Olivia Kralik, Medical Student

Olivia Moscicki, Medical Student

Oni Blackstock, MD, MHS

Paige Cloonan, BS

Paloma Orozco Scott, Medical Student

Pamela Mund, MD

Paul Gross MD

Phoebe Li, Medical Student

Piper Lillian Coalson, GCPH, CPS

Rachel Simon, MD

Rakin Muhtadi, BA, Medical Student

Rayce Samuelson

Reise Sample, Medical Student

Rex Tai, MD

Risha Khetarpal

Robert W Morrow MD

Ronni Marks

Ross W. Sullivan MD

Ruhee Shah, Medical Student

Sandhya Kumar, MD MPH

Sarah Baron, MD, MS

Sarah Berkson, MD

Sarah Jacobs, Medical Student

Sarah McNeilly, Medical Student

Sarah Schroeder, MD

Scott Fabricant, MD PhD

Selena Gilles, DNP, ANP-BC, CNEcl, FNYAM

Serena Roth, MD

Seth Congdon, MD

Shannon M Egan, MSN, MSPH, RN

Shenell Thomas, MSN RN

Sherry Oommen, MPH

Stella Safo, MD MPH

Stephanie Song, Medical Student

Stuart Wasser MD, FASAM

Susan Bonadonna, MD

Tamara Goldberg, MD

Terence Hughes, Medical Student

Teresa Lopez-Castro, PhD

Tess Nienaltow, Medical Student

Tiffany Tyson, BA, Medical Student

Tsion Tmariam, Medical Student

Van Yu, MD

Vashti Wagner, Medical Student

Vito Grasso, MPA, CAE

Will Genthe, BS, Medical Student

William Jordan, MD, MPH

William Lee Vail, MD, MPH&TM

William Matthews, PA

Zachary Gallin

Ziv Cohen, MS

Zsuzsanna Sidlo, MD


Callen-Lorde Community Health Center

Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU

Empire State Medical Association

Greater NYC Black Nurses Association

Health Justice

Housing Works

Housing Works Covid LIC Medical Department

Housing Works DHS COVID Hotel

Janian Medical Care


Just Equity for Health

Manhattan Central Medical Society

National Health Care for the Homeless Council

New York Society of Addiction Medicine

NY Doctors Coalition

NYS Academy of Family Physicians

Project Renewal, Inc.

St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction

The Hepatitis C Mentor and Support Group, Inc. - HCMSG