ALBANY – A Staten Island state senator said Thursday that the drug fentanyl kills far more people on average every day than the recent Las Vegas mass shooting, yet doesn’t generate nearly the same outrage.
Sen. Andrew Lanza made the comments at a Staten Island event with Gov. Cuomo to push a bill to crack down on the makers of the deadly drug.
Recently we watched in horror the Las Vegas shooting in which 59 of our fellow citizens lost their lives, Lanza said. It was described as Americas worst mass murder, but if you look at the math, its not true.
While 58 people were killed in the recent Vegas shooting, an average of 160 Americans die every day from fentanyl overdoses, Lanza, a Republican, said.
We saw after Vegas people screaming and yelling to do everything to call for martial law to throwing the bill of rights into the shredder, he said of a push for new gun control measures.
Where is the same outrage here? Lanza said. Where is it? Perhaps because this problem doesnt fit neatly within the political narrative of the left. It doesnt fit neatly within the political narrative of the right, and so we dont hear enough.
He said fentanyl is to heroin as bump fire stocks are to weapons and weve got to stop it right now.
Lanza, along with Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Staten Island), is sponsoring a bill pushed by Cuomo that would add 11 types of fentanyl to the state controlled substance list.
I have no compassion and no tolerance for the manufacturers, Cuomo said at the event.
He said the states efforts to crack down on the drug are made difficult by the fact that every time a compound is outlawed, the drug makers add something new to get around the law.
It’s a game of whackamole, Cuomo said. We are a dog chasing its tail and we want to end that.
Cuomo said he will propose a bill to add 35 types of synthetic marijuana known as K2 to the state controlled substances list, exposing those who make them to criminal drug penalties.
The 35 types are already illegal under federal law. Cuomos legislation will give the state health commissioner the power to add to the list any new drugs that have been added to the federal list of controlled substances.
The bills could also include a provision outlawing specific chemical formulas or any derivative from those formulas.
While overdose deaths in the state involving opioids increased nearly 35% between 2015 and 2016, the number is significantly higher for fentanyl-related deaths.
The Cuomo administration says that fentanyl-related deaths increased 160% between 2015 and 2016, including more than 310% in New York City. In Staten Island, fentanyl-related deaths jumped closer to 700%, he said.
The state recently sent a letter to insurance companies telling them they must cover anti-overdose drugs related to the use of fentanyl.