New York businesses will be able to administer opioid antidotes to customers under expanded Good Samaritan protections signed this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The legislation is aimed at helping drug users during COVID-19 as the pandemic has put many more people at risk. Commercial businesses, including restaurants, hotels, bars, malls, theaters and other retail establishments will be allowed to use antidotes such as Naloxone without facing lawsuits or other repercussions.

In a release from the Governor’s office, it stated, “Opioid-related overdose deaths frequently occur in public spaces. Yet, many of these public spaces have restricted the administration of Naloxone on their premises due to the concern that they would not be covered under the current Good Samaritan law.”

The bill comes after reports of increased drug overdose death rates nationwide during the first quarter of 2020.