ALBANY, NY (WENY) — Alexis Pleus lost her oldest son, Jeff Dugon, to an overdose in 2014.
Pleus said her son loved to cook and was kind to everyone around him. She said he was ashamed of his addiction and wishes he had a place where he didn’t have to feel shame.
“He died alone in a bathroom. And there’s nothing worse for a mother to think of. Losing your child is bad enough but he died alone in a bathroom,” she said.
Pleus traveled from Binghamton along with other advocates from all over the state to push for the legalization of overdose prevention centers.
There are currently two pilot overdose prevention centers in New York City.
Terrell Jones, Advocacy and Community Engagement Manager at On Point, one of the pilot centers in New York City, said these centers save lives.
“It brings people into a space where they’re welcome. Where they’re free to feel love, content, dignity, respect,” Jones said.
Lawmakers introduced legislation in both chambers that would establish overdose prevention centers across the state.
Some lawmakers are also pushing for $40 million, a portion of the opioid settlement fund to go towards the current operating prevention centers.
“We had an enormous battle during the budget to establish this and the Governor insisted that not a cent would go to either one of these organizations—either one of these facilities operated by the same organization—which is madness because these places are saving lives every single day,” said Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-33rd Senate District).