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On Jan. 26, 2024, Assemblyman Matt Slater (R,C-Yorktown) led a collaborative discussion with federal, county and local officials, county district attorneys, local law enforcement agencies, support groups and various organizations, to develop a comprehensive framework focused on prevention, treatment, recovery and enforcement. This framework aims not only to address immediate concerns but also to establish the foundation for sustainable solutions.

Participants in the discourse reported a surge in dealers utilizing social media and online chat platforms to peddle fentanyl-laced narcotics into communities. The Town of Yorktown Police Department reported closing a local smoke shop yesterday for selling drugs and advocates raised concerns related to our senior population.

In 2022, the nation witnessed a staggering 300 overdose deaths per day. The escalating illicit use of fentanyl poses a growing threat, with those who peddle it and endanger others yet to face appropriate penalties. Prosecutors have voiced concerns about cashless bail policies, highlighting the disruption it has caused in prosecuting these cases. Recovery advocates noted a significant decline of up to 50% in treatment court participation due to the lack of leverage provided by bail in these situations.

“I thank everyone who came today. We’ve received a lot of insight from those who are on the frontlines saving lives. We are committed to translating this feedback into action. Together, in a bipartisan spirit, we will tackle this issue, recognizing that it’s not about politics—it’s about lives,” said Slater.

Slater's “Death by Dealer” (A.7985) bill, with bipartisan support, would empower local officials with the authority, just like federal-level prosecutors, to categorize the actions of dealers leading to an individual’s death as a class A felony. This measure serves as a compelling deterrent, making dealers reconsider before jeopardizing another person’s life.

“I want to thank Assemblyman Matt Slater for pulling everyone together to have this discussion and for the legislation he has introduced. It is critically important that we not only deal with treatment, recovery, education and prevention but we also deal with enforcement. We need to go after those dealing, trafficking, distributing and manufacturing fentanyl and hold them accountable,” said Rep. Mike Lawler. 

“This bill is so important as it is the beginning of taking back and bringing back common sense. I urge everybody out there to support this bill,” said Putnam County District Attorney Bob Tendy.

“Due to the outstanding work of our department, we were able to make an arrest recently of a dealer providing fentanyl-laced drugs resulting in the death of another person. But we had to go to federal prosecutors with those charges because there is no vehicle in New York state to allow us to prosecute on a local level. After this open discussion, I am optimistic that things are going to get done thanks to Assemblyman Matt Slater and Congressman Mike Lawler,” said Chief of Yorktown Police, Robert Noble.

“Thankfully we have the voice of Assemblyman Slater and having him fight the good fight for us. This law is a great first step, and I hope we see it through,” said Chief Anthony Hoffman, Carmel Police Department.

“Everyone at this roundtable, elected officials, law enforcement, district attorneys, are people who take their work home with them. It’s hard to talk about these issues and come up with sound solutions to make a difference, but the work our legislators are doing will give us the tools to keep our communities safe, ” said Putnam County Executive, Kevin Byrne.

“We cannot arrest our way out of this, but what we can do is make sure that we arrest the root cause. This law gives us the ability to go after the people who are intentionally murdering our citizens,” said Yorktown Deputy Supervisor Ed Lachterman.

“The faucet is open, and it is flowing at full speed. Unfortunately, I don’t think we will ever be a drug-free world, but it starts here. So I want to thank Assemblyman Matt Slater and Congressman Mike Lawler and everybody else who joined today,” Said Yorktown Councilman Sergio Esposito.

Click here for a video on the discussion held.



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