April 29, 2015

Press Release # 018-15
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

MEDIA CONTACT: (347) 396-4177
Christopher Miller\Veronica Lewin: PressOffice@health.nyc.gov

Health Department Launches Bronx Detailing Campaign to Promote Judicious Opioid Prescribing and Reduce Opioid Misuse and Overdose

In 2013 an opioid analgesic overdose death occurred every other day in NYC; Bronx residents had the second highest death rate among the five boroughs Similar effort in Staten Island contributed to 29% decline in opioid analgesic overdose deaths

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene today announced the launch of a Bronx detailing campaign to educate physicians about safe and judicious opioid analgesic prescribing. Opioid analgesics are commonly known as prescription painkillers, and include medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. Health department representatives will visit more than 1,000 Bronx health care providers and staff to provide key prescribing messages and resources for patients and providers. The campaign will be conducted May through June, 2015, over an 8-week period. Through these one-to-one visits, the Health Department seeks to support health care providers in widespread adoption of judicious opioid prescribing practices – and to make small changes in everyday practice that can lead to substantial reduction in opioid analgesic overdose in the Borough. The Health Department conducted a similar detailing campaign in Staten Island in 2013, accompanied by several other opioid analgesic-related initiatives. From 2011 to 2013, Staten Island saw a 29% decrease in opioid analgesic overdose deaths after implementation of this multi-prong approach. Commissioner of Health Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH made the announcement about the upcoming Bronx detailing campaign at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, where she conducted Grand Rounds on the topic, “Addressing the Epidemic of Prescription Opioid Analgesics in the Bronx.” Commissioner Mary T. Bassett was joined by St. Barnabas Hospital Chief Medical Informatics Officer Dr. Jitendra Barmecha. 

 “Opioid analgesic misuse and overdose is a deadly epidemic that disproportionally harms Bronx residents, which is why we are educating physicians across the Bronx about judicious opioid prescribing and providing supportive resources,” said Commissioner Bassett. “Together, using a multi-pronged approach, including judicious opioid prescribing, we can save lives and reduce mortality in the Bronx.”

In 2013 an opioid analgesic overdose death occurred every other day in New York City, and Bronx residents had the second highest death rate among the five boroughs. Opioid analgesic-involved overdoses have increased 256% from 2000 to 2013 in New York City, from 0.9 deaths per 100,000 New Yorkers to 3.2 deaths per 100,000 New Yorkers in 2013. Opioid analgesic-involved overdoses were involved in 28% of overdose deaths in 2013. To address this epidemic the Health Department has a multi-pronged approach consisting of:

  • Collecting and analyzing up-to-date overdose and mortality data
  • Creating and disseminating guidelines for judicious opioid analgesic prescribing, including the Bronx detailing campaign
  • Raising public awareness of the risks of prescription painkillers through public service announcements
  • Expanding overdose prevention (including increasing access to naloxone, the drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose)
  • Expanding access to effective treatment for people with substance use disorders

The Health Department promotes access to treatment for opioid addiction, including medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine and methadone. These treatments reduce the risk of overdose among people with opioid use disorder, and help people regain their ability to function as family members, gain employment, and lead stable lives.

For more information opioids and overdose prevention, visit nyc.gov/health.