ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) county opioid quarterly report for January 2023 was released on January 17. The report shows a 14% increase in 2021 overdose deaths involving opioids compared to 2020.

The report provides information about county-level health impacts related to heroin and opioid use enabling local communities to better respond to the opioid crisis. Acting State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald states, “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.” “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.”

Key findings of latest county opioid quarterly report

  • 14% increase in overdose deaths involving opioids, with 4,766 deaths in 2021.
  • 12.6% increase in outpatient Emergency Department visits due to opioid overdoses, with 10,430 visits in 2021.
  • 30.2% increase in outpatient Emergency Department visits due to opioid overdoses other than heroin, including illicitly produced opioids such as fentanyl,with 5,137 visits in 2021.
  • 11.8% increase in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) naloxone administration encounters, with 19,139 in 2021.

DOH also continues to support a variety of harm reduction initiative to reduce opioid abuse and dependency in NYS. Governor Hochul recently proposed launching an interagency task force to expand on the State’s harm reduction strategy options related to opioid use disorder treatment and harm reduction. NYS plans to advance 25 Syringe Exchange Programs (SEPs) with over 81 sites. NYS DOH explains SEPs remain at the forefront of innovation in addressing the needs of New Yorkers vulnerable to overdose. New York’s 14 drug user health hubs have been built on the foundation of SEPs where they provide easy access to buprenorphine (opioid used to treat opioid use disorder,), safety plans and equipping participants naloxone (reverse or reduce the effects of opioids). The full report can be found here.