The opioid crisis persists on Long Island. A new report revealed at least 600 people died from opioid overdoses in Nassau and Suffolk counties in 2017. Suffolk had the most deaths with a total of about 400. It’s the highest number of deaths to date.
In 2016, there where about 500 deaths reported—303 in Suffolk and 190 in Nassau. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that’s about 50 times stronger than heroin, was the cause of 233 deaths that year.
Opioid addiction is a growing national concern. In 2016, there were more than 63,600 drug overdoses across America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, more than 42,000 were related to opioids. Compare that to 2015 when there were more than 52,400 deaths for drug overdoses with about 33,000 of them involving opioids.
Last year, Lisa Ganz, the clinical director at Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, said “we need leadership from the top” to address the epidemic. Things may be moving in the right direction as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo stepped in this year proposing a surcharge on opioid prescriptions. All the money will go towards prevention, treatment and recovery services. The hope is to halve the number of those dying from opioids by 2021.