New Comptroller Report on Overdoses During Pandemic

November 2, 2022

The new Report (discussed below) is here:

NY opioid-related overdoses rose during pandemic, report finds

The share of drug overdose deaths involving opioids in New York increased from 69 percent in 2010 to 85 percent in both 2020 and 2021.

BY: SHANNON YOUNG | 11/01/2022 01:55 PM EDT, PP

ALBANY — Nearly 5,000 New Yorkers died as a result of opioid-related overdoses last year — up from the 4,200 in 2020 and the previous high of 3,200 in 2017, according to a new report from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.  

Key context: The report, which DiNapoli released ahead of a Long Island news conference, analyzes and outlines long-term trends and recent developments in New York’s fight against the opioid epidemic. It attributes the rising deaths, in part, to disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the growing prominence of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that’s often now found in illegal drugs

DiNapoli, who is seeking reelection next Tuesday, said the report seeks to help New York policymakers understand the current state of New York’s opioid crisis and what’s needed to address the issue.

“Overdose deaths statewide from opioids and all drugs in 2021 surpassed the previous 2017 high by more than 1,700 fatalities, and are nearly 3,900 greater than in 2010. So we see a trend going very much in the wrong direction. These numbers are alarming,” the comptroller said at a late-morning event at THRIVE Recovery and Community Outreach Center in Westbury on Long Island. “The data clearly shows that our battle against overdose deaths is far from over.”

The findings: The share of drug overdose deaths involving opioids in New York increased from 69 percent in 2010 to 85 percent in both 2020 and 2021, according to the report. It also found that In 2021, 30 New Yorkers per 100,000 died from drug overdoses and 25 per 100,000 died from opioid overdoses — up from 5 per 100,000 in 2010.

The report further found that while fatalities increased across all racial and ethnic groups, Black and Hispanic New Yorkers saw the biggest spikes. Death rates increased nearly five fold for Black New Yorkers and quadrupled for Hispanic or Latino New Yorkers. Death rates, meanwhile, tripled for white New Yorkers.

Recommendations: The report recommended that New York policymakers take a series of steps to reverse the rising number of opioid overdose-related deaths in the state.

Those recommendations included: seeking continued improvements to care systems through enhanced state agency coordination; bolstering interventions to stem the tide of overdose deaths; improving efforts to track funding; establishing clear performance targets and directing funds and support toward communities facing the greatest challenges.