After seven consecutive years of opioid overdoses killing a growing number of New Yorkers, city health officials saw a glimmer of hope in 2018.

Citywide, the number of drug-related deaths dropped, but not in the Bronx.

“In 2018 there were 391 overdose deaths among Bronx residents. The highest number on record,” said Michelle Nolan, Senior Epidemiologist of NYC Department of Health.

Michelle Nolan is a senior epidemiologist and helps the city keep track of opioid overdoses.

Not only did the Bronx have the most deadly overdoses, it also had the highest rate: 34.1 per 100,000 residents.

In the first half of the this year, 184 Bronx residents died, putting the Bronx on track to have fewer overdose deaths than last year.

But Nolan says the Bronx still leads the other boroughs in overdose fatalties, and that health officials have noticed more cases of fentanyl being mixed with non-opioid drugs, sometimes without the users even knowing it.

This is the infamous tunnel on Kingsbridge Road near Valentine Avenue. It’s where residents say they sometimes see drug use happening in plain sight.

“I do see some needles around. It’s kind of disturbing because there’s kids around here too,” said Kingsbridge Resident Francisco Saavedra.

Six out of Seven Bronx districts have overdose rates higher than the rest of the city, including even here, in the northwest Bronx, the communities of Fordham, Kingsbridge and Norwood.

The health department launched a Bronx action plan two years ago, but the problem persists. Some community activists wonder if drug abusers being priced out of other parts of the city are moving here.

“All the new people are bringing their own problems to an area that was already saturated with problems already,” said Sheila Sanchez, Community Activist.

Health officials urge New Yorkers to learn about Naloxone which can reverse an overdose. They encourage users to learn about safe syringes at one of their sites, there are three of them in the Bronx.

For more information go to and search for the NYC Health Map.