Column: Cuomo’s needle exchange program highlights growing insanity

Perhaps nothing demonstrates the far-left insanity of city and state Democrats more than their just announced priorities to expand drug needle exchange sites and eliminate receipt paper, while ignoring wide-spread calls, including from district attorneys, to make modest changes in the dangerous bail reform law that takes effect in less than a month.

According to a decree from Governor Cuomo, new needle exchange sites, or the more politically correct official “Secondary Syringe Exchanges” for drug addicts will open throughout rural parts of the state.

Similarly, City Hall has brought needle disposal bins for addicts to 14 Bronx parks that essentially turned the play spaces into city-sanctioned shooting galleries. Indeed, since the disposals arrived in the meadows, data from the Department of Parks and Recreation shows that during the program’s first six month period last year some 66,656 needles were discarded within the parks. But just 11 percent- or roughly 7,300- of those needles made their way into the bins, with the rest falling to the ground around them, turning the parks used by law-abiding residents and children into minefield littered with used drug paraphernalia.

This was after Mayor de Blasio wanted to make us the first place in the United States to open tax-payer funded “Supervised Injection Facilities” to allow addicts to inject heroin and other drugs with sterile syringes under medical supervision. Thankfully, this plan was blocked.

All three of these city and state examples show the mis-placed priorities of today’s New York Democrats. Rather than using taxpayer funds on actions that condone drug use, these financial resources should be used to help break the addict’s dependence on drugs. They need help, hope, and rehab, not policies that make it easier to continue their addiction.

It was also reported last week that the City Council will take up legislation to ban receipt paper, and require businesses to recycle receipts in order to save the world. As Council Speaker Corey Johnson said last week, “We will work with businesses and consumers to cut out paper receipt waste and protect the planet.” This is the same far-left mentality that will have us paying more for bags at stores next year.

Apparently, these policies are more important than modest changes to the “criminal bill of rights” or bail reform law that begins January 1. There are plenty of flaws in it that should be addressed but the most obvious one is the removal of a judge’s discretion to release a defendant back on the streets or not. Specifically, as the law stands now, if someone has a long rap sheet, including serving time for a violent crime, and then is collared for aggravated assault, robbery, drug dealing, burglary or countless other crimes they must be released with a simple promise to return to court. 

Modifying this law to give judges discretion to protect innocent residents from career criminals is more important than opening new needle exchange sites or banning receipt paper. This common sense change deserves strong support from city and state lawmakers, but to most Democrats today, the safety of law abiding New Yorkers takes a back seat to the radical left environmental and criminal justice reform agenda. 

This is why New Yorkers are done a dis-service when one party controls 48 of the 51 New York City Council seats and also dominates Albany with complete control of the Executive and Legislative branches. They can push their agenda without serious opposition.

While Democrats focus on banning receipt paper and expanding needle exchange sites for addicts to satisfy their boisterous far-left base, we have far more serious problems that should be addressed. In addition to the dangers of the impending bail reform law, our public housing is falling apart and the New York City Housing Authority seems helpless to fix it; the homeless crisis continues; our subways are a mess; and our public hospital system is bleeding billions of dollars.

The insanity continues.

Bob Capano has been an adjunct political science professor at the City University of New York for over 15 years and has worked for Republican and Democratic elected officials in Brooklyn. Follow him on twitter @bobcapano