If a complete “snapshot” is taken of the numbers of deaths associated with the use of opioids and other types of drugs throughout New York State, these fatalities increased by 14% in 2021, compared to the previous year.

Admissions to emergency rooms also grew by 24% due to overdose and hospitalizations by 7%, due to dangerous use of this type of substance, other than heroin.

These updated trends, released this week by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) that more accurately describe the progress of the opioid use crisis, also shed light on how specifically in In the Bronx and in Manhattan, already in this 2022, there are many reasons to worry.

In Salsa County, while in the first quarter of 2021, 205 people were reported in emergencies due to overdose due to the consumption of all types of opioids, this year the income of those who were on the verge death was 237.

Almost the same thing happened in Manhattan: 249 people were detained from January to March this year, while 184 were hospitalized in the same period of time in 2021.

In Queens and Brooklyn on the other hand, there was a decrease in this type of emergency.

Very complicated registration

But in the Big Apple, beyond the detailed data on hospitalizations and assistance provided in emergency rooms for substance use, the sharpest angle of this crisis is that it is very difficult to determine the exact number of daily deaths for this reason.

Although there is consensus that every seven hours, a resident of New York City, is likely to die from an overdose.

In the third quarter of 2021 (from July to September) 709 drug overdose deaths unintentional in all five counties, in contrast to 552 deaths in the same months of 2020, which means the highest number since these records have been followed for 20 years.

Given the exponential growth in the use of these substances in the 57 counties that make up the state of New York, which also coincides with the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mary Bassett, NYSDOH Commissioner, ordered pharmacies to sell naloxone, which can be used to counteract the effects of an overdose. And help a person resume normal breathing.

“Overdose cases are on the rise, both nationally and statewide, and about three-quarters of all overdose deaths in New York State, now they involve fentanyl,” Bassett explained.

As explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), naloxone is a drug, non-addictive, that can reverse an opioid overdose, if given early.

“Carrying naloxone with you and giving it to someone who is overdosing on opioids could immediately help save a life” stresses the federal agency.

NYC takes forecasts in bars and nightclubs

Amid the monstrous rise in deaths from opioid use, the Mayor Of New York City, Eric Adams signed the Intro 56 legislation intended to reduce fatal overdoses by providing free Narcan kits (naloxone) to nightclubs in New York City, so that they are able to administer them in the event of an opioid overdose.

With the implementation of this law, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) will strengthen its collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and conduct response trainings to overdose in bars and clubs.

This bill is part of a broader strategy the city is pursuing to reduce opioid overdoses, including launching the first overdose prevention centers in the nation.

“By providing Narcan kits to nightlife establishments. And educate staff on how to use it in case of overdose, we will build a healthier city. We have lost too many New Yorkers for this reason,” said the Mayor after signing this new legislation.

For his part, the Dr. Ashwin Vasan, DOHMH commissioner recalled that many times people who consume certain substances such as heroin and cocaine, they don’t even know that they might also be receiving potent doses of fentanyl.

“Having people around who can respond, including our partners in the nightlife industry, can save lives. Also, it is a message: as New Yorkers, we take care of each other,” referred the main doctor of the City.

Narcan campaign behind every bar

Likewise, due to the growing risk of deaths due to the use of these substances and the progress of this new regulation, the New York City Office of Nightlife created the campaign ‘Narcan behind every bar’ (Narcan behind every bar), with the advice of DOHMH, which encourages all entertainment sites such as bars, clubs and discos to have these free overdose prevention ‘kits’.

“It’s part of an overall harm reduction approach. And although this crisis is not exclusive to nightlife. We believe that the staff and customers of these places should be allied to help fight emergencies,” reasoned Ariel Palitz, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife.

The fentanyl problem

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl is a strong synthetic opioid similar to morphine, but between 50 and 100 times more powerful. It is a prescription drug that is also sometimes used illegally.

Like morphine, it is usually indicated for patients with severe pain, especially after surgery. It is sometimes used to treat people with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids.

Fentanyl is also illegally mixed with other drugs such as cocaine, heroin, crack and methamphetamine, this is especially dangerous because the person who uses these drugs, in general, does not know that this narcotic has been added to them.

Overdose in NYC:

    • 1,580 New Yorkers died from a fentanyl overdose in 2020, although there is certainty that there is underreporting, since it is only the cases that have been officially proven after toxicological analyzes have been carried out.
    • 1,658 people were hospitalized in the Big Apple during 2021 for serious health conditions caused by substance abuse associated with opioids.
    • 409 people have ended up in hospitals for serious health crises in NYC in the first quarter of this year, compared to 328 in the same time period in 2021.
    • 609 of all hospitalizations in 2021 were due to heroin use.
    • 85% of overdose deaths in 2020 were linked to opioid use.
    • 77% of overdose deaths in 2020 for four years in a row, fentanyl has been the most common substance.
    • 93% of overdoses were associated with heroin and 81% with cocaine.
    • 77% of overdoses caused by opioid analgesics and 66% of amphetamine overdoses.

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