There were 1,487 drug overdose deaths in New York City in 2017, a 2 percent increase compared to the 51 percent increase recorded for 2016
For the first time, fentanyl was the most common substance involved in drug overdose deaths; City to increase efforts in communities most affected by overdose deaths
September 17, 2018 — The Health Department today published an Epi Data Brief analyzing the latest 2017 confirmed drug overdose death data in New York City. The provisional Data Brief shows that drug overdose deaths in New York City remained at epidemic levels in 2017. However, the rate of increase slowed down significantly in 2017 — with a 2 percent overall increase, compared to the 51 percent uptick recorded for 2016.
Today, the City confirmed 1,487 drug overdose deaths in 2017 (including City residents and non-City residents). That is 62 more deaths than the prior year. In contrast, in 2016 there were 437 more deaths than the year before. The Data Brief updates the provisional quarterly report the Department released in May 2018 (PDF), which showed 1,441 overdose deaths for 2017.
The 2017 Epi Data Brief shows that fentanyl — a potent, synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine — was detected in more than half (57 percent) of all overdose deaths, up from 44 percent in 2016. In 2017, fentanyl was the most common substance identified in overdose deaths. The neighborhoods with the highest rate of overdose death — Hunts Point-Mott Haven and Highbridge-Morrisania in the South Bronx — had overdose rates more than twice the citywide average. For the first time in 11 years, Black New Yorkers had the highest rate of drug overdose death, compared to Whites and Latinos. Of the Black New Yorkers who died from drug overdose in 2017, the largest number lived in the Bronx. Among Black New Yorkers, residents of the Bronx and Manhattan had the highest rates of overdose. Read the full Epi Data Brief (PDF).
The Health Department also released drug overdose data for the first quarter of 2018 (January through March), which shows 360 overdose deaths. This is three fewer deaths than the final quarter of 2017. Read the full quarterly report (PDF).
In response, as part of HealingNYC — the City’s comprehensive strategy to address the opioid overdose epidemic — the City will increase overdose prevention efforts in the Bronx and communities most affected by this epidemic, with the following actions:
"It is with great concern that I receive the results of this report on the uptick of drug-related deaths, especially from fentanyl, in our City. It is particularly worrisome that a number of neighborhoods in the Bronx and low-income people of color have been the most affected by this development,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “While we have a long road ahead of us, I look forward to working with our City to find effective solutions including passing the Safe Consumption Sites bill I proudly sponsor at the state level, to adequately address the serious crisis we are facing.”
“Despite taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to the opioid crisis, overdose deaths continue to rise in New York City. Our communities are struggling with unimaginable loss, and it is clear that partners at every level of government must work together with advocates to provide more robust resources to families and individuals on the front lines struggling to survive. We must work together to expand our prevention education, treatment and recovery services city and statewide,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.
“I am disheartened to learn neighborhoods such as Mott Haven and Highbridge — both of which are in my district — have the highest rates of overdose deaths. Our City must continue to approach the opioid epidemic holistically and do so through a racial equity lens,” said Council Member Diana Ayala. “As the Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction, I am committed to shedding more light on this issue and advocating for further resources in communities impacted most.”
Epi Data Brief highlights:
Since the launch of HealingNYC in March 2017, the Health Department has:
The City is committed to helping New Yorkers with addiction receive treatment and care. Naloxone is available for free from registered Opioid Overdose Prevention Programs. The Health Department also offers regular naloxone trainings at its main office in Queens and Tremont Neighborhood Action Center in the Bronx, which teach New Yorkers to recognize the signs of an overdose and respond by calling 911 and administering naloxone. The trainings are free, and all participants are offered a free naloxone kit.
Treatment with methadone or buprenorphine is highly effective for opioid addiction and can reduce the risk of overdose. Individuals seeking support or treatment for substance use issues for themselves or their loved ones can contact NYC Well by calling 1-888-NYC-WELL, texting “WELL” to 65173 or going to nyc.gov/nycwell. Free, confidential support is available at any hour of the day in over 200 languages.
If you witness an overdose, call 911 immediately.
MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Stephanie Buhle: (347) 396-4177