NYC nightclubs, bars would carry Narcan under new bill

City Council member Chi Ossé, who represents parts of Brooklyn, introduced a bill last month­ to prevent drug overdose deaths in New York City.

"Every overdose is preventable," Ossé said. "We see people overdosing sometimes here on the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant and the fact that some of those deaths can be preventable if someone had access or someone had training to Narcan that would save a life."

The bill, which Ossé introduced together with Council Member Keith Powers, would provide nightclubs and bars with training and up to 10 free drug kits that reverse opioid overdoses

Restaurants aren't part of this legislation, but a growing number of them, like Shinsen in Chinatown, are already offering these kits. Co-owner Theresa Sin said she keeps two kits behind the bar, which they haven't needed to use yet. She also keeps strips out on top of the bar, which check to see if drugs are laced with fentanyl. A nonprofit called ASAP Foundation provides it all to the restaurant, and the strips go fast.

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"There's only one box left. They replenish our kits whenever we need them," Sin said. "People have probably taken a couple of hundred."

According to the latest numbers from the city's Department of Health, there were 1,463 unintentional drug overdose deaths reported in the city in 2019 — 11 more than the previous year. Also, that was the third year in a row that fentanyl was the most common substance involved in those deaths.

"I'm so happy that we can actually do something about it and that's the most important thing," Sin said. "As small as it sounds, if we can save one life it would be worth it."

The next step is for the bill to be discussed at a City Council hearing. After that, the council would need to vote on it.

Ossé said he hopes to see that happen by late summer or early fall.