NYC Laws & Pending Legislation: Substance Abuse

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NYC Laws/ Pending Legislation

Denise’s Law (Pending Legislation)

On July 16, 2008, Denise M. Gerardi, age 19, passed away due to a drug overdose. Denise's loss of life is tragic and shows the grave issues that have arisen with a growing drug addiction problem on Long Island (Suffolk County) and throughout New York. Drug addiction among youths is a grave concern to all. Parents feel helpless and often do not know what to do when facing this situation. Under current law, a youth can decline and refuse any attempts at help. This legislation allows parents to take control of the situation and get the help sorely needed for the child. This legislation allows a parent to petition the court to have their child assessed by a physician to determine whether or not detoxification would assist in helping the youth fight their teen drug addiction.

Denise's Law will help parents keep minors in detox treatment and requires healthcare coverage for detox treatment.

Denise’s Law features two important provisions that will help individuals and families in the fight against drug addiction.

The bill (S. 6361) will allow parents or guardians to petition a court to require an examination, and if needed, detoxification, for minors who are suffering from addiction. Under the status-quo it is not uncommon for parents to check teens into rehab, only to have the teen check themselves out, before detoxification is finished. Because detoxification is a central, and often the first, part of recovery, it is crucial that parents have the ability to keep minors in detox and start the treatment process.

(Source: Inspirations Youth website:


The Legal System

The legal system is full of teens that have gotten caught using, selling, or in possession of drug paraphernalia. If you were to ask them why they are there, most would say they don’t have a drug problem and they didn’t think they would get caught. Many teens feel that they are invincible and that they will never get caught. Unfortunately or fortunately many teens are lucky enough to get away most of the time. When the law finally catches up with them they have a criminal record and could be facing time in a juvenile detention facility. Some people feel that the best answer is to legalize all substances. This would doubtfully keep resourceful teens from being able to get high. People that are not law abiding will not abide by the laws.

(Source: TroubledTeen website