ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In honor of National Overdose Awareness Day, a local group called on Gov. Kathy Hochul to take executive action and authorize overdose prevention centers.

Members of the Harm Reduction community and those impacted by New York’s overdose crisis gathered in Albany on Wednesday to call for the policy change. Overdose prevention centers are controlled health care settings where people can use pre-obtained drugs under the supervision of trained professionals who can intervene in the event of an overdose.

Advocates said the first step to prevention is ending the stigma.

“Ending stigma is not something that is going to happen overnight, but it is what will put us in the trajectory of overdose prevention centers being a give-in,” Maddie Hogan, of Friends of Recovery NY, said. “Just being something that’s there to save lives.”

According to the most recent data from the state’s health department, nearly 5,000 New Yorkers die every year because of overdoses, and that number is on an upward trend.