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Lawmakers ready to propose tougher penalties, more insurance coverage to counter heroin spike

Lawmakers ready to propose tougher penalties, more insurance coverage to counter heroin spike

Photo: WHCU

New York lawmakers are putting forward a package of legislation that seeks to fight the resurgence of heroin with tougher penalties for dealers, more funding for overdose-reversal drugs and increased insurance coverage for treatment.

The proposals are expected to be detailed later Monday. Lawmakers have been holding a series of forums around the state about the sudden spread of the drug from New York City to sleepy upstate communities and Long Island suburbs. Another hearing is in Oneonta on Monday.

Experts told lawmakers that a crackdown on prescription drugs has pushed addicts to heroin, which is significantly cheaper and easier to obtain. The state Health Department says deaths from heroin overdoses in New York have doubled from 215 in 2008 to 478 in 2012.

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