New York closed 2016 with a new record: over 1,000 heroin overdose deaths. This continues an upward trend noted years ago, which has continued to challenge New York residents and their families, as well as policy makers and health care providers.
In June of 2016, New York State issued a report showing 2014 data on heroin abuse and drug overdose deaths. As of 2014, New York was outpacing other states in the growth of heroin use and the number of people seeking treatment for addiction disorders involving heroin.
In 2014, heroin overdose was a contributing cause for 825 deaths.
The 2016 numbers are in and things look much worse. Over 1000 deaths from heroin overdose in 2016, an increase of 17.5 % from 2004 numbers.
While New York had been leading the nation in growth of heroin overdoses for many years, it did not lead in heroin overdose deaths nor prescription opioid overdoses (those attributed to prescription drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and other opiate-like synthetic opioids).
In one year (2014) heroin use in New York exceeded the national average rate by 50 per cent!
Upward trends in drug abuse are difficult to stop. New York State agencies are scrambling to provide treatment options, considering expanding the existing Pilgrim State psychiatric facility on Long Island.
Suffolk County, Long Island Drug Addiction and Treatment
Suffolk County on Long Island had the highest death toll from heroin overdose, at 111 dead. That's more deaths from overdose in Suffolk County than the the Bronx and Brooklyn combined.
Suffolk also experience an additional 96 deaths attributed to opioid overdose (non-heroin, which includes prescription pain killers).