Mayoral hopeful Curtis Sliwa ripped Gov. Kathy Hochul on Sunday for OK’ing legislation that led the NYPD to allow open drug use on city streets, claiming the policy is hampering Gotham’s economic rebound.
“It’s interesting that Gov Hochul … instead of utilizing her veto power, decided to sign this into legislation,” Sliwa said outside the Midtown South Precinct on West 35th Street, part of an area he referred to as the “Valley of Death” because of the availability of drugs there.
“If all of a sudden some addicts decided to sit down outside Eagle Street in Albany and start injecting right in front of the governor’s mansion, would she tell the state police not to do anything?” Sliwa said of the Dem governor. “Of course not. That would not be permissible.
“Would they be allowed to walk onto the steps of the state capitol and begin to inject heroin or fentanyl into their neck, into their legs, into their ankles, into any vein that is left usable in their body, so they can get their high?” he continued of junkies. “The answer is, of course not.”
The Guardian Angels founder accused Hochul and Democratic lawmakers of stifling the Big Apple’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by passing the legislation because of its effect on the Big Apple’s quality of life. He vowed to wage a “war” against her over it if elected to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“It’s do as I say but not as I do. But to the rest of us, they have again put another nail in the coffin of New York City’s resurrection,” he said. “I’ll tell you, if the good people of New York City elect me mayor on Nov. 2, I am immediately going to go to war against Gov. Hochul on this.”
A rep for Hochul responded in an e-mail to The Post, “Fighting the opioid epidemic is personal to Governor Hochul, and this legislation is one part of a larger public health approach to expand access to substance abuse treatment and keep New Yorkers safe.”
Sliwa’s mayoral foe, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a Democrat and former NYPD captain, said, “We cannot create new problems while trying to solve old ones — and that is most critical on issues of public safety.
“If we are going to legalize the possession of hard drug paraphernalia — and especially its sale — then we must couple that with investments in interventions that get hard drug users off our streets and into effective programs and supportive housing,” Adams said Sunday in a prepared statement. “If we do one without the other, chaos will rein, and we will lose our city.”
The pols’ remarks come after The Post reported Saturday that Senate Bill 2523 — which decriminalizes the possession or sale of hypodermic needles and syringes, commonly used to inject drugs — went into effect Oct. 7.
The measure prompted the NYPD to tell cops not to “take any enforcement action” if they see people with needles used for banned substances.
“Effective immediately, members of the service should not take any enforcement action against any individual who possesses a hypodermic needle, even when it contains residue of a controlled substance,” states a recently issued directive to NYPD commanders.
The policy comes as drug-overdose deaths have surged by 36 percent in the five boroughs, according to new federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
More than 2,200 people in the Big Apple have died from drug overdoses for the 12-month period ending March 31, compared to about 1,650 who died during the same period the previous year, according to agency stats.
On Sunday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer called for more money to be pumped into nonprofits that help people struggling with substance abuse. She suggested using an unspecified amount of the $256 million allocated for New York City as part of the opioid settlements reached by the state attorney general’s office earlier this year.
“Every overdose is a government failure,” Brewer said at a press conference in Times Square. “Manhattan cannot recover unless its homeless and those struggling with addiction and mental illness recover.
“But people are dying in our streets from lack of healthcare and social services. That’s why millions from the Opioid Settlement Fund awarded to New York City must flow to the nonprofits that we know are doing the work on the ground.”
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