NYC Drug Overdose Deaths Soared in 2016

"The final overdose data for 2016 confirm what we have feared: Drug overdose deaths have reached a record high and are increasing citywide as the opioid epidemic continues to affect every community," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "We remain committed to addressing this crisis."

The New York City Health Department released data June 13 showing that a record number of unintentional drug overdose deaths occurred in the city last year: 1,374, or 437 more than the previous year. It was the sixth consecutive year that overdose deaths have increased in the city; equally concerning is that overdose rates rose among all demographic groups and among residents of nearly every New York City neighborhood.

During 2016, South Bronx residents had the highest rate of drug overdose (37.1 per 100,000).

Researchers at the department attributed the sharp increase in OD deaths to the increased presence of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine that "has been found in heroin and cocaine as well as in benzodiazepines and opioid analgesics acquired from non-pharmaceutical sources," according to the agency.

Through HealingNYC, the de Blasio administration is investing $38 million annually at full ramp-up to increase naloxone distribution and community-based trainings, expand access to medication assisted treatment, and promote judicious opioid prescribing, according to the department.

"The final overdose data for 2016 confirm what we have feared: Drug overdose deaths have reached a record high and are increasing citywide as the opioid epidemic continues to affect every community," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "We remain committed to addressing this crisis and will continue to work with the de Blasio administration to make sure that every New Yorker has access to life-saving treatments and services when needed. Opioid overdose deaths are preventable, and we will not rest until we put an end to this epidemic."

Two weeks ago, the department announced that fentanyl is increasingly found in cocaine-related overdose deaths and issued a Health Advisory to 40,000 medical professionals with information on how to educate patients, particularly those who may use cocaine occasionally, about the increased overdose risk.

New Yorkers can get naloxone without a prescription at more than 740 pharmacies across the city, including all major chain pharmacies, and at registered opioid overdose programs.

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