Overdose deaths related to heroin and prescription opioid abuse reached record highs in New York state in 2014, according to a report issued today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The overdose death rates in New York increased faster over the preceding decade than in nearly every other state for which data are available.
“Heroin and prescription opioid addiction often come with disastrous consequences, tearing apart families and causing financial ruin,” said DiNapoli. “While New York state and some local governments have taken important steps to reduce heroin and opioid abuse, the costs associated with this epidemic are growing and the health, safety and prosperity of our communities are at risk.”
DiNapoli’s report noted overdose deaths in New York, in which heroin was a factor, reached a record high of 825 in 2014, the last year for which data are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.
This number represents a jump of 159 deaths, or 24 percent, over 2013, and is nearly 25 times the number recorded in New York 10 years earlier. When comparing 2005 and 2014 death rates for states for which data are available, only one state in each category (Massachusetts for heroin-related deaths, and Connecticut for prescription opioids) had higher rates of increase in overdose deaths than New York.
Among counties for which data are available, Suffolk County had the greatest number of overdose deaths in 2014 in which heroin (111 deaths) or prescription opioids (96 deaths) was a contributing cause. Heroin overdose death rates were highest in Orange, Oneida, Suffolk and Monroe counties, while prescription opioid overdose death rates were highest on Staten Island and in Erie, Oneida and Orange counties.
These overdose statistics mirror the increase in reported heroin and prescription opioid use in recent years. According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an average of approximately 75,000 New Yorkers a year were estimated to have used heroin in the two-year period from 2013 through 2014. This figure reflects nearly 10 percent of all heroin users in the nation during this period as reported by SAMHSA, and is more than double the corresponding number in New York in each of the two-year periods dating back to 2007-08.
Compared to national averages, New Yorkers are significantly more likely than individuals in other states to be admitted to treatment for heroin use or prescription opioid abuse, the report found. Factors in these trends may include New York’s higher-than-average rate of health insurance coverage and the state’s longstanding efforts to promote access to treatment.
Among recent initiatives to combat this epidemic, the State Fiscal Year 2016-17 Enacted Budget provides additional funding of $25 million to help localities develop, expand and/or operate treatment, recovery, prevention and/or housing services for persons with heroin and opioid use and addiction disorders.
A new state-funded treatment facility expected to open in 2017 near Plattsburgh will bring detoxification and outpatient substance use disorder services to Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. The state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services is also providing up to $2 million for 50 new residential treatment beds in the Southern Tier, the Finger Lakes and Western New York for New Yorkers with substance use disorders, and has awarded $1.6 million in annual funding to create adolescent substance use disorder clubhouses in seven regions across the state. The report outlines additional efforts by the state and local governments in New York.
For a copy of the complete report, Prescription Opioid Abuse and Heroin Addiction in New York State, visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/press/releases/june16/heroin_and_opioids.pdf
For access to state and local government spending and more than 50,000 state contracts, visit http://www.openbooknewyork.com/. The easy-to-use website was created by DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.