Norris Calls for Criminal Possession of Fentanyl

Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C-Lockport) joined members of the Assembly Minority Conference in supporting a call for the full Assembly to vote on legislation that will create a class E felony crime of criminal possession of fentanyl (A.5592) this week. Norris is a sponsor of the bill because the drug is a significant contributing factor to the opioid crisis that has reached a crisis level in recent years.

In fact, data from the New York State Comptroller’s Office shows that in 2017—the same year the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services first declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency—nearly 4,000 New Yorkers lost their lives to a drug overdose. By 2021, that number had risen to 5,800 New Yorkers.

“The fentanyl crisis is not only resulting in more deaths but also touching the lives of more families across our state,” said Norris. “As this drug becomes easier to access and more intertwined in everyone’s lives, our state government should be doing everything it can to send the message that those who knowingly interact with fentanyl are a danger to our society, and they should be punished. This bill does that, and it’s disappointing that not everyone in the Assembly is willing to support this bill with their vote.”

Calling for the bill to be moved out of committee to come before the full Assembly for a vote, the vote was requested during the Assembly Codes Committee meeting held on Tuesday, April 9. The request was denied, with the members of the Majority voting against the bill by a vote of 15 to 7, along party lines.

Undeterred, Norris said he and his colleagues will continue working to make New York State safer as one-party control at the State Capitol continues prioritizing criminals and those who cross our nation’s borders illegally, often trafficking drugs like fentanyl with them.