Overdose Deaths Dropped by 26 Percent on Staten Island in 2017: Officials

What to Know

  • 86 people died from drug overdoses on Staten Island in 2017, as opposed to 116 in 2016
  • Another 286 lives were saved by the use of the overdose-reversal drug naloxone
  • Officials said the decrease amounts to a 26-percent reduction in overdose deaths

Staten Island -- the borough with the highest opioid overdose rate per capita in New York City -- saw a 26 percent reduction in drug overdose deaths in 2017, officials said. 

Eighty-six people died from suspected drug overdoses last year as opposed to 116 in 2016, according to preliminary data released by the Staten Island district attorney's office. The reduction also comes as people saved 286 others with the overdose-reversal drug naloxone on the island in 2017. 

"This battle is far from over," said Staten Island D.A. Michael McMahon. "We have a long way to go in preventing these drugs from reaching our shores, in ridding our streets of those who profit from selling this poison to our loved ones, and in making sure that everyone suffering from addiction has the knowledge and access to recovery services that they need."

Last year, McMahon's office, the NYPD and other state, local and nonprofit groups launched a variety of programs to battle substance abuse and opioid addiction on the borough.

Those initiatives include a post-arrest treatment program that gives some drug offenders to community based treatment programs. More than 250 of the 321 people offered to join he program have had their cases withdrawn. 

NYPD officers in the borough have also begun carrying naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, along with other gear they take on patrol. 

"Staten Island has been particularly hard hit, so it’s encouraging that overdose deaths in 2017 were down by more than 25 percent and that almost 300 overdoses were reversed using naloxone," said NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill. "As we begin 2018, the NYPD remains committed to working with the community, other City agencies and D.A. McMahon’s office, as we battle the opioid epidemic and save lives together."

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