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New York Drug Abuse Crises

The entire nation is struggling with drug abuse and addiction and New York is struggling too. 1,601 people died in New York State in 2013 from an opioid related overdose. 637 of those deaths were the result of overdoses of heroin and the rest from various opioid pain relievers, sleep aids or other narcotic medications.

Put in other terms, more than four people in the Empire State died per day from this opioid epidemic. This rate, according the New York Office of Mental Health, is more than 68% higher than in 2008.

A report released this past summer by New York State Heroin Task Force CO-chaired by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez Commissioner of the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)

outlined the frightening increases in New York opioid abuse. Long Island alone saw a 242 percent increase in opioid abuse among people 18 to 24 years old from 2014 to 2015. We're still waiting on numbers from 2016 but this hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. Approximately 1.4 million new Yorkers are afflicted with some substance use disorder according to the report.

The Heroin and Opioid Task Force was convened by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to combat this problem. Composed of policy advocated, educators, parents and health care providers, The HOTF is charged with developing a comprehensive plan to control and reduce the scope of this crisis through the following avenues of attack:


Many members of the task force agreed that prevention should consist of first, Education; more awareness in Schools, communities and especially at the point of prescription. Prescriber education requirements are essential. One study showed that 80% of heroin addicts started with opioid analgesics.


The report examined the fact that Approximately 107,300 New Yorkers received treatment for opioid substance use disorder in 2015.

Almost 12,500 beds for treatment of addiction are overseen by the OASAS system. These include beds for withdrawal, stabilization, inpatient rehabilitation and sober living.

The task force is committed to the expansion of accessible treatment for all New Yorkers who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. Over 107,000 New Yorkers received treatment in 2015. But there is still much more needed.


The fact that most emphasis is placed on treatment was acknowledged by the Task Force. But the need for long term recovery help was also pointed out. Help in transitioning from addiction to life without drugs or alcohol is essential in the majority of cases and the lack of sufficient recovery homes or half-way houses was also recognized.


Steps need to be taken on the supply side of this epidemic as well and this was also addressed. The national Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) is a nation-wide database which physicians must now consult whenever prescribing certain addicting drugs. Pharmacies are also expected to refer to this database when filling those prescriptions. This procedure is already showing positive results in several states.

Illicit Drug Use in the Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older in New York, by Substate Region: Percentages, Annual Averages Based on 2010, 2011, and 2012 NSDUHs (Source: SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

In 2013, New York had the 6th lowest drug overdose mortality rate in the U.S.

New York State Government Agencies

Drug Abuse Facts

Drug Abuse Information

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