Makes possession and sale of embalming fluid a misdemeanor.
BILL NUMBER: S7542A
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the penal law and public health law, in relation to criminal possession and unlawful sale of embalming fluid
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL : To prevent the dangerous and anomalous use of embalming fluid.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS : Section 1 amends the penal law by adding a new offense, criminal possession of embalming fluid. A person would be guilty of that offense when he or she possesses embalming fluid with the intent to ingest or inhale such embalming fluid or has knowledge that someone else will ingest or inhale such embalming fluid. subsection 2 sets forth a definition of embalming fluid for purposes of this section and defines the crime as a class A misdemeanor.
Section 2 amends the public health law by adding a definition of embalming fluid.
Section 3 amends the public health law by adding a new violation to the section of law dealing with the enforcement and discipline for funeral directors, undertakers and embalmers. This new violation would penalize any funeral director, undertaker or embalmer who sells or offers for sale embalming fluid to another person with actual knowledge that such person is not a licensed funeral director, undertaker or embalmer, and that such person would be using the embalming fluid for purposes outside the scope of funeral directing or embalming activities.
JUSTIFICATION : Last year in Syracuse, a couple was severely injured when they were struck head-on by an impaired driver. Before getting in the car and running down the couple, the driver had smoked a cigarette dipped in embalming fluid laced with phencyclidine (PCP), a strong hallucinogen. One of the victims of the crash spent weeks in a coma and almost lost a limb. The other victim suffered nearly serious injuries. This tragic story exemplifies a rapidly growing problem: the recreational use of embalming fluid, specifically when mixed with illegal narcotics.
Embalming fluid, a chemical compound containing formaldehyde, methanol, ethanol and other solvents, is a highly-flammable poison, its purpose is to preserve the dead by making the body an unsuitable host for bacteria and other organisms. Though embalming fluid is a legal substance when mixed with drugs, it can produce a hallucinogenic and often violent reaction. Since it is a legal substance, the fluid is available online. Marajuana laced with the fluid is often sold on the streets, and fluid sold by itself on the streets is almost always laced with other hallucinogenic drugs.
Health-care officials have noted an increase in cases of drugs being mixed with embalming fluid. In fact, Syracuse area hospitals are preparing to handle twice the number of embalming fluid cases compared to last year.
This bill aims to prevent such cases and other tragedies by creating a new penalty for illegal possession of embalming fluid, as well as adding a new penalty within the public health law regulating the funeral directing and embalming professions.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : This is a new bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None.
EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect on the 180th day after it shall become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7542--A IN SENATE April 20, 2010 ___________Introduced by Sen. VALESKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the penal law and public health law, in relation to criminal possession and unlawful sale of embalming fluid THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 220.78 to read as follows: S 220.78 CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF EMBALMING FLUID. 1. A PERSON IS GUILTY OF CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF EMBALMING FLUID WHEN HE OR SHE POSSESSES EMBALMING FLUID WITH EITHER THE INTENT TO USE SUCH EMBALMING FLUID OR KNOWLEDGE THAT SOME OTHER PERSON INTENDS TO USE SUCH EMBALMING FLUID FOR PURPOSES OF HUMAN INGESTION OR INHALATION. 2. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "EMBALMING FLUID" MEANS ANY CHEMICAL OR SUBSTANCE MANUFACTURED PRIMARILY FOR USE BY LICENSED FUNERAL DIREC- TORS, UNDERTAKERS OR EMBALMERS, OR REGISTERED RESIDENTS, TO PREPARE, DISINFECT OR PRESERVE, EITHER HYPODERMICALLY, ARTERIALLY OR BY ANY OTHER RECOGNIZED MEANS THE BODY OF A DECEASED PERSON FOR BURIAL, CREMATION OR OTHER FINAL DISPOSITION. CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF EMBALMING FLUID IS A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR. S 2. Section 3400 of the public health law is amended by adding a new subdivision (l) to read as follows: (L) "EMBALMING FLUID" MEANS ANY CHEMICAL OR SUBSTANCE MANUFACTURED PRIMARILY FOR USE BY LICENSED FUNERAL DIRECTORS, UNDERTAKERS OR EMBAL- MERS, OR REGISTERED RESIDENTS, TO PREPARE, DISINFECT OR PRESERVE, EITHER HYPODERMICALLY, ARTERIALLY OR BY ANY OTHER RECOGNIZED MEANS THE BODY OF A DECEASED PERSON FOR BURIAL, CREMATION OR OTHER FINAL DISPOSITION. S 3. Section 3455 of the public health law is amended by adding a new subdivision 1-a to read as follows: 1-A. BEING A FUNERAL DIRECTOR, UNDERTAKER OR EMBALMER, OR REGISTERED RESIDENT, KNOWINGLY GIVES, SELLS, PERMITS TO BE SOLD, OFFERS FOR SALE OR DISPLAYS FOR SALE, OTHER THAN FOR PURPOSES WITHIN THE GENERAL SCOPE OFEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14710-04-0 S. 7542--A 2
THEIR ACTIVITIES AS A LICENSED FUNERAL DIRECTOR, UNDERTAKER OR EMBALMER, OR REGISTERED RESIDENT, EMBALMING FLUID TO ANOTHER PERSON WITH ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE THAT SUCH OTHER PERSON IS NOT A LICENSED FUNERAL DIRECTOR, UNDERTAKER OR EMBALMER, OR REGISTERED RESIDENT, OR ENTITY AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM EMBALMING ACTIVITIES UNDER SECTION THIRTY-FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY OF THIS ARTICLE OR ACTIVITIES DESCRIBED IN ARTICLE FORTY-TWO OF THIS CHAP- TER; OR S 4. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law.