Saturday August 31th, 2019

Drug overdose is an increasing global health problem.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths are up 17% nationwide—now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. Citywide, overdose deaths remained at epidemic levels, with 1055 overdose deaths confirmed for the first 3 quarters of 2018 (provisional data).  In 2017 there were 1,487 unintentional drug overdose deaths in New York City (NYC) compared with 1,425 in 2016 (DOHMH, 2019). Deaths of homeless New Yorkers are driven by drug-related causes that track broader city and national trends.

As national opioid overdoses reach epidemic proportions, every life lost is a tragedy that reinforces our commitment to improving delivery of services and increasing access to care. From expanding overdose preparedness training to more-than doubling our street outreach staffing and dedicated capacity, we continue to find ways to achieve more positive health outcomes and save more lives as we help homeless New Yorkers get back on their feet.

August 31, 2019 is International Overdose Awareness Day, a global event that aims to raise awareness that overdose death is preventable, to reduce the stigma associated with it, and to acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or have been permanently injured as a result of drug overdose. It is also a day of hope, in recognition of the tens of thousands of lives that have been saved from overdose, and a call to further action to end the opioid overdose crisis.
The NYC DHS Office of the Medical Director (OMD) will join dozens of organizations in the U.S. and abroad participating in International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31. You are encouraged to have an awareness event at your facility as this is a great way to show your support as well as to educate your staff and clients on what opioids are, how an overdose could be prevented, and how it should be responded to, using naloxone administration. Naloxone, a safe medication that counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose, remains a powerful and effective tool in preventing opioid overdose deaths. 

The DHS Opioid Overdose Prevention Program conducts a Training of Responders once a month at 33 Beaver Street on select Wednesdays from 2pm – 4pm. The training is open to all staff.  The schedule for 2019 is:

8/14/19 – Room 1602

11/13/19 – Room 1773

9/11/19 – Room 1602

12/11/19 – Room 1602

10/16/19 – Room 1303


Take 10 – 15 minutes to attend the training. You will become a State Certified Overdose Responder, learn how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose, and receive a naloxone kit and a Certificate of Completion card.