Gov. Cuomo proposes harsher penalties for sale of synthetic drugs

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo was at State Police Headquarters in Farmingdale Thursday to unveil legislation that would create harsher penalties for the sale of synthetic marijuana and fentanyl – a synthetic drug often mixed with heroin. 

The governor says the law needs to be flexible to include all compounds of the drugs. He wants to make both K2 and fentanyl schedule 1 controlled substances.

The announcement comes on the heels of three synthetic marijuana arrests Thursday morning in Medford. Police say they were selling K2 out of a convenience store and had been investigating the case since May.

Drug treatment experts say that while the governor's plan is a step in the right direction, what they really need is more money for education in school and in-treatment beds.

"What we didn't hear today is where our money is going to be allocated for evidence-based education and prevention in every school and every community, and, of course, additional dollars for treatment beds so that those affiliated with the disease of a substance abuse disorder could have treatment on demand and access to quality treatment after care," says Steve Chassman, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

The governor also directed the New York State Department of Financial Services to ask insurance companies to further reimburse for greater doses of Narcan, which is the drug that can reverse opioid overdoses.

Suffolk County has the highest opioid death rate in the state.

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