County-level data on alcohol overdoses in New York will be collected by the state Department of Health under a law approved this week by Gov. Kathy Hochul. 

The measure will expand the information state public health officials collect on alcohol overdoses statewide, and have the information shared on an annual basis. The goal of the measure is better understand the areas of New York that have seen higher rates of alcohol poisoning in order to better address it. 

“This legislation responds to the dire need for a comprehensive county-level examination of alcohol overdoses, which does not currently exist in New York State,” said state Sen. Michelle Hinchey. “COVID-19 has fueled an increase in alcohol use disorder across our country, and despite the urgency to address this consequence of the pandemic, studies have shown that by and large, alcohol fatalities and overdoses are vastly overlooked and underreported. The new reporting mechanisms that this bill creates will deliver the information New York needs to more effectively respond to the alcohol overdose crisis and save lives in our communities, and I thank Governor Hochul for signing it into law.”

The bill comes after federal health officials have said alcohol has been found to be the third-leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. — about 95,000 fatalities a year. 

The data to be collected by the Department of Health includes information on excessive consumption, overdoses and overdose deaths as well as the utilization of emergency rooms for alcohol overdose treatment.