New York state has legalized heroin.
Collected via e-mail, February 2016
On 15 February 2016, the entertainment web site Empire News published an article claiming that New York state had legalized heroin:
The state of New York made history this week, following on the heels of the wave of marijuana legalizations across the country. Recreational use of heroin will become fully legal in the state by the end of this year.
“By legalizing, monitoring, and taxing heroin, we will not only cut down on inmates and care costs, but also open up a whole new job market,” Cuomo explained. “It’s a good situation all around, especially for taxpayers.”
This story is a piece of fiction from Empire News, a fake news web site that clearly labels its content as “satire” in its disclaimer:
Empire News is intended for entertainment purposes only. Our website and social media content uses only fictional names, except in cases of public figure and celebrity parody or satirization. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.
While Empire News is open about its satirical content, the article was later republished by web sites such as We Are Change, Health Facts Concern, and Top Health Records, which do not clearly identify themselves as purveyors of fake news.
In addition to multiple web sites sharing the fake news story, some readers may have been confused by recent stories about Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick’s controversial plan to allow heroin users to use the drug legally (but under medical supervision):
An upstate New York mayor’s proposal to consider allowing heroin users to shoot up under medical supervision has divided drug policy experts, with some hailing it as an innovative, science-based approach and others rejecting it as radical and a slippery slope to legalization.
Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick formally announced the idea Wednesday as one of several proposals to address a wave of opioid addiction. The Democratic mayor also wants to create a new office of drug policy, help at-risk teens learn work skills and adopt a strategy implemented in Seattle that has police sending low-level drug offenders to treatment instead of jail.
While it’s true that a mayor in New York state has introduced a plan to allow heroin users to use the drug under medical supervision, the claim that the city of New York has legalized heroin for recreational use is not true, and originated with a satire news web site.
A Word to Our Loyal Readers
Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.
- David Mikkelson
- Doreen Marchionni
- David Emery
- Bond Huberman
- Jordan Liles
- Alex Kasprak
- Dan Evon
- Dan MacGuill
- Bethania Palma
- Liz Donaldson
- Vinny Green
- Ryan Miller
- Chris Reilly
- Chad Ort
- Elyssa Young
Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.
We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.
Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.