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New York City Council progressives plan to pay drug addicts for used needles


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Progressive members of the New York City Council are pushing a bill that would pay the city’s drug addicts to return used needles as the number of discarded needles on the streets continues to soar.

The bill, sponsored by Vice President Diana Ayala, states that it would authorize the [Department of Health and Mental Hygiene] to set the redemption incentive, up to 20 cents per needle, syringe or sharp, with a cap of $10 per person per day,” The New York Post reported.

The legislation, if approved, would begin as a one-year pilot program that would then be evaluated by the New York City Department of Health to determine if it would become permanent.

The bill says the program would be “open only to people” who use the city’s overdose prevention centers (OPCs) “for drug use.”

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A Sanitation Department Environmental Police member collects used needles as part of a city sweep of a homeless encampment, September 22, 2022 in New York City, New York.
(Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

“The intent of the bill is to incentivize people who use our streets and open spaces to return the dirty needle (possibly to the opc site) instead of disposing of it inappropriately,” wrote Ayala on Twitter. Hearings are an opportunity to gather more information and make changes if necessary.”

Ayala’s office did not immediately respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams showed openness to the legislation in a comment from his office to the New York Post.

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Used needles are seen on the street during a city sweep of a homeless encampment, September 22, 2022 in New York, New York

Used needles are seen on the street during a city sweep of a homeless encampment, September 22, 2022 in New York, New York
(. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images))

“We welcome the partnership with the Council to promote safe syringe disposal and address community concerns, and we will review the legislation,” his office said.

Queens GOP adviser Joann Ariola told the New York Post that she opposes the bill.

“It won’t benefit the person who is the drug addict using the needles,” Ariola said. “It could be harmful for the person who collects these needles. And who pays the [twenty] cents per needle? Where does this money come from? I think taxpayers are paying enough!” Ariola said.

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New York Mayor Eric Adams speaks at the National Press Club during a press conference on gun violence and other issues on September 13, 2022.

New York Mayor Eric Adams speaks at the National Press Club during a press conference on gun violence and other issues on September 13, 2022.
(Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The New York City Sanitation Department’s Environmental Policing Unit has recovered 69,692 discarded needles so far this fiscal year, more than double the number collected this time last year.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation in October 2021 that decriminalizes the possession and sale of hypodermic needles and syringes.

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Additionally, New York City police were told last year to stand down and not arrest drug addicts for needles, even if they contained residue of a drug substance.

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