Deaths from opioid overdoses in New York continued to rise in 2021, growing by 14% compared to the prior year, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Health.
The new data, which also showed a corresponding rise in emergnecy room visits due to overdoses, is another sign of how widespread the problem of opioid addiction and the toll taken on communities.
“The opioid epidemic continues to affect all of us, as Americans and New Yorkers. Deaths from overdose continue to increase nationally and locally and data can help inform and drive local solutions to this complex public health crisis,” Acting State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. “I commend the excellent work being done by the Department's Office of Public Health and Office of Health Equity & Human Rights, and our collaborators at the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports, for continuing to transform how we assist New Yorkers fighting the opioid epidemic and support the medical professionals who provide treatment.”
The report released by health officials found there were 4,766 deaths attributed to opioid overdoses in 2021. Emergency department visits also increased by 12.6% the year, reaching 10,430 visits.
Non-heroin related emergency department visits that were attributed to overdoses has also increased by 30.2% that year as new, more powerful opioids spread across the state, health officials said.
Gov. Kathy Hochul this year has called for new measures meant to address the rise in overdoses and opioid addiction in the state while health officials have also sought to make narcan, meant to reverse the effects of overdoses, more readily available.