NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Friday, April 7, 2017, 12:12 AM
Heroin needles in their arms. Prescription painkillers swallowed or crushed and snorted. And gel scraped from fentanyl patches eaten by abusers.
These are the ways a record number of New Yorkers — about 1,300 people — fatally overdosed last year. That’s more than twice the number of people who were murdered or killed in car wrecks — combined.
Officials attributed about 80% of the overdoses to opioids; out of those, 90% were caused by heroin or fentanyl, a powerful synthetic drug.
The stories of people dying to get high are as common as they are startling.
Nine people overdose in 24-hour span amid NYC's opioid epidemic
“I could recount to you story after story that would literally chill you,” Dermot Shea, the NYPD’s chief of crime control strategies, said Thursday. “Pregnant women overdosing. A couple, one is saved and an hour later we’re responding back to the same apartment for the other.”
The overall number of overdoses jumped about 39% last year from the year before. And the number of overdoses has more than doubled from two decades ago, prompting some health officials and cops to compare the opioid crisis to the crack epidemic of the ’80s and early ’90s.
The problem has gotten so bad, the NYPD has begun tracking opioid overdoses in “real time.” Every overdose report — from heroin or pain killers — is tracked in a system called RxStat — similar to the NYPD crime-tracking system CompStat — to identify “hot spots.”
Speaking at a conference attended by law-enforcement executives from across the country, Shea said 17,000 NYPD officers have been trained in the use of Narcan. The NYPD uses the nasal spray form of the drug, which blocks the effects of opioids. By June, all 23,000 or so patrol officers will be equipped with the medication.
City vows to cut overdose deaths by 35% over next 5 years
All FDNY medics are trained and equipped with the drug, a spokeswoman said.
Police officials on Thursday revealed other alarming stats:
Heroin was involved in 59% of all overdose deaths in the city in 2015, the latest data available.
About 23% of overdose deaths in 2015 were attributed to pain pills.
Two overdose on opiates at Staten Island Ferry Terminal
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