What to Know
- A total of 29 people overdosed on Staten Island since July 17, and 13 of them have died, the district attorney says
- Staten Island is in the grip of a deadly heroin and opioid epidemic, the DA says
- People needing help for recovery should visit SIHope.org
Thirteen people have died in suspected drug overdoses on Staten Island in the last three weeks, officials say, grim evidence of the continuing heroin and opioid epidemic gripping the borough.
Sixteen more also overdosed in the same time period, but were saved through Naloxone, according to District Attorney Michael E. McMahon.
The total 29 suspected overdoses since July 17 represents a marked increase in the epidemic.
"Staten Island is still in the grip of a deadly heroin and opioid epidemic that’s killing our loved ones and neighbors every day," McMahon said.
It was around this time last year that nine people died of drug overdoses in 10 days.
An alarming spike in heroin-related deaths on Staten Island last year prompted McMahon to push the city for money to help battle the epidemic; the city ultimately approved $3.6 million for his office.
Some NYPD officers have started carrying naloxone kits amid the growing heroin overdoses; the pilot program started on Staten Island. And the Staten Island University Hospital has been distributing free naloxone kits.
McMahon has been promoting a recovery initiative called SIHope. He's also urging neighbors to report illegal drug activity to police or his office by calling 718-876-5839 or visiting his office's site.
In addition to heroin and opioids, fentanyl is now being increasingly mixed into illegal drugs in New York City, especially heroin, according to Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan. It's about 50 times stronger than heroin and is driving a spike in fatal overdoses, which reached an all-time high of 1,374 deaths in the city in 2016 -- a 46-percent increase over 2015, according to NYC health data.