New York state is struggling with a drug epidemic that continues to kill record numbers of Americans. It isn’t just the rough parts of New York City that are having problems. Drug overdose deaths are soaring across the state. Communities that previously seemed immune to drug problems now see the same issues.
Drug Overdose Deaths Across The State
A recent study recorded mortality rates across New York. These are just a few of the many counties reporting opioid related death tolls in the hundreds:
- Suffolk County – 823
- Queens County – 464
- New York County – 534
- Nassau County – 501
- Kings County – 521
- Bronx County – 461
- Erie County – 377
- Richmond County – 248
Hospitalizations are also on the rise. The highest annual increases in hospitalizations due to opioid abuse were in Cortland and Madison counties, with a 54 percent and 33 percent increase respectively.
Tainted Heroin Kills in Record Numbers
Erie County health officials urged heroin users to throw out their drugs because they might be tainted. The county experienced an unusually high number of overdoses when heroin mixed with other drugs hit the street.
Fentanyl is an opioid similar to heroin that is often up to 50 times more potent. Illegal drug makers mix it into other drugs as means of controlling their costs. People who purchase Fentanyl often don’t realize they’re buying something that can kill them with just one dose.
Synthetic Marijuana Kills New Yorkers
Opioids aren’t the only problem plaguing New York. Thirty-three people in Brooklyn were sent to the hospital in one day when they overdosed on K2, a marijuana synthetic.
The drug causes altered mental states, lethargy and respiratory issues. Its popularity with homeless people caused health officials to name it a public health crisis. New York City alone reported more than 6,000 emergency room visits and two deaths related to synthetic marijuana.
Alcohol And Binge Drinking
New York residents continue to struggle with alcohol abuse as well. The numbers make it clear that alcoholism continues to be a real health threat.
- From 2008-2010, 16% of adults reported having more than four drinks on one occasion in the past month.
- That number skyrocketed to 20% in 2012.
- Last year, 18% of adults said they drank more than four drinks at a time in the last 30 days.
- More than 50% of underage drinkers admitted to binge drinking.
Binge drinking leads to an increase in criminal activity, domestic violence, high-risk sex and other problems. Alcohol poisoning and injuries from falling have led to an increase in hospitalizations. Alcohol was also the number one cause of car accidents in New York.
Drug Problems Don’t Just Affect The Poor
There’s a misconception that drugs and alcohol problems only permeate into poverty-stricken areas. The reality is that opioid abuse takes place in some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the state.
New York’s upscale Westchester County is one of the areas that struggles the most with opioid addiction. Criminals flock to small towns where their activities go unnoticed and there are plenty of wealthy citizens interested in buying drugs.
The Drug Enforcement Agency made its largest ever heroin bust in August 2016. They seized $2.3 million worth of heroin in Westchester County. Similarly, fentanyl killed at least 220 people in Long Island last year. Fentanyl can be made in a lab, so it’s easier and cheaper to produce than heroin.
Law enforcement continues to work with communities, youth organizations and schools to address the problem, but the heroin epidemic continues to spread.
State Efforts To Reverse The Trend
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined a plan to reduce the number of deaths by 35 percent over the next five years. His plan involves spending up to $38 million a year for the following:
- Provide hospitals with medications to treat addiction
- Prosecute illegal opioid and heroin distribution
- Distribute overdose reversal medication to patrol officers
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo also signed legislation to fight the opioid crisis. The new package limits opioid prescriptions to seven days, mandates physicians provide more drug education and expands recovery support.
Treatment Saves Lives
Substance abuse doesn’t discriminate. Individuals and families in all parts of the world are affected by addiction. The Treatment Center understand that every person dealing with addiction is unique. That’s why we provide custom treatment programs for drugs, alcohol and other addictions to every one of our patients.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, don’t give up hope. The experienced and dedicated staff at The Treatment Center are ready to help you transform your life. Please contact us directly or review our admissions resources if you have more questions about traveling for treatment.
Learn more about New York drug abuse stats on our New York facts page.