Last week, the State Senate approved a package of 22 bills that “take a comprehensive approach to fighting the ongoing heroin and opioid addiction crisis.”

The bills reflect many of the recommendations in a report that the Senate’s Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction released on the same day, calling for better prevention efforts, increasing access to treatment, expanding recovery options and, providing greater resources to law enforcement to aid in combating this crisis. They include limiting initial prescriptions of controlled substances to treat acute pain to a five-day supply, pending further consultation with a physician; requiring counseling on the dangers of opioid abuse to patients before they receive prescriptions; increasing penalties for selling drugs at parks and on playgrounds; and creating the crime of homicide by sale of an opioid.

With the huge increase in opioid-related death in New York State in recent years, we need lawmakers to take steps to address this epidemic of misery.