The New York State Department of Health Announces Quarterly Opioid Report and Increased Actions to Prevent Opioid Overdose Statewide

Designed by the New York State Heroin and Opioid Task Force, Reporting Directly Informs Local Treatment and Prevention Strategies

The Department Continues Innovative Programming to Combat the Opioid Epidemic and Support New Yorkers Battling Opioid Use Statewide

Read the Full Report Here

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 4, 2022) - The New York State Department of Health today released its Quarterly County Opioid Report for April 2022 and announced key initiatives underway to fight opioid use statewide. As part of the State's ongoing work to address the opioid crisis, this reporting provides actionable insights on the use of heroin and opioids to identify local trends and respond to those needs.

"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths reached record highs in 2020 across the nation and here in New York State," said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "This reporting enables us to address statewide issues and tailor localized solutions. I applaud the dynamic work of the Department's team at the Office of Public Health and our partners at the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports for continuing to innovate the way we support New Yorkers battling opioid use and those who treat them."

The report, published quarterly, is authored by the State Department of Health. It was established following a recommendation from the New York State Heroin and Opioid Task Force in 2016. The report provides county-level data on major opioid-related measures in a timely manner to directly inform on-the-ground efforts. It is a key component of the State's work to advance comprehensive solutions that target heroin and opioid abuse with a focus on prevention, education, treatment, and recovery.

Key findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and this quarter's report include the following:

  • Nationally, overdose deaths were the highest in history with over 91,000 drug-involved overdose deaths and over 68,000 opioid-involved overdose deaths in 2020.
  • New York State is not an exception to this national trend, and also experienced an increase in overdose deaths to the highest amount recorded in 2020.
  • Drug-involved overdose deaths increased by 37% from 3,617 in 2019 to 4,965 in 2020 among New York State residents.
  • Overdose deaths involving any opioid increased by 44% from 2,939 in 2019 to 4,233 in 2020 at an average of nearly 12 resident deaths every day during 2020.
  • These trends have been primarily driven by fentanyl, which has been increasingly present in the illicit drug market.
  • During 2020, New York City boroughs were among the highest ED visits and hospitalizations for opioid overdoses, and Naloxone administrations by EMS.
  • In the areas of the state outside New York City, Suffolk, Nassau, Monroe, Erie and Onondaga counties had the highest numbers of ED visits and hospitalizations for opioid overdoses, and Naloxone administrations by EMS.

Joyce Rivera, ABD, CEO/Founder, St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction and Member, New York State Opioid Settlement Fund said, "Harm reduction practices have been a balm on the wounds of communities fighting opioid use, informed by tools of compassion, science, and real-world insight. Thanks to the State Department of Health's reporting and their overall efforts to build on the compassionate basis for community work, our harm reduction pioneers have the global data needed to continually optimize life-saving programs. This means providing the support New Yorkers—particularly those with HIV and HCV—need today, as well as advancing long overdue shifts in policy."

Dr. Joshua Lynch, New York MATTERS Founder and Medical Director and Member, New York State Opioid Settlement Fund said, "I thank the New York State Department of Health for producing this invaluable research – providing New York MATTERS and programs like it with the data to best care for New Yorkers battling opioid use. Because of the Department's support and partnership, including in hosting our electronic referral platform which connects patients with opioid use disorder to the care they need, we continue to help more New Yorkers each day."

In addition to collecting and publishing these findings, the New York State Department of Health continues to support a variety of harm reduction initiatives to reduce the burden of opioid abuse and dependency statewide. This includes New York MATTERS, an electronic referral system for connecting persons with opioid use disorder to local treatment and harm reduction services; the Local Health Department Initiative, providing funding to 24 county health departments with the highest overdose rates outside of New York City to bolster primary care, corrections, harm reduction, emergency departments, public safety, and more; and over 900 registered Opioid Overdose Prevention Programs, which provide training to non-medical individuals to recognize opioid overdoses and respond appropriately by calling 911 and administering naloxone—provided at no cost—the antidote for these overdoses; the Department's Naloxone Co-payment Assistance Program (N-CAP), in which as part of their health insurance, individuals with prescription drug coverage have co-payments of up to $40 covered, resulting in no or lower out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, the State continues to advance 25 Syringe Exchange Programs (SEPs) with over 81 sites statewide. SEPs remain at the forefront of innovation in addressing the needs of New Yorkers who use drugs and lead in the distribution of naloxone to New Yorkers vulnerable to overdose.The State's 14 Drug User Health Hubs have been built upon the foundations laid down by the SEPs. These centers focus on reducing overdose by providing easy access to buprenorphine, building safety plans with people who have experienced a non-fatal overdose and equipping participants with naloxone.

Read the full report here.

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About the Report

The New York State Department of Health's Quarterly County Opioid Report (April 2022) provides data by quarter with annual totals for fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses (deaths, emergency department (ED) visits, and hospitalizations) by county. The report includes data from the New York State Department of Health Vital Statistics for death records, Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System for emergency department and hospital records, New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports' Client Data System for treatment admissions, Pre-hospital Care Reports, Law Enforcement Naloxone Administration, and Community Opioid Overdose Prevention Program Datasets for naloxone administrations.