New York: New York’s Problem with Prescription Drugs

“An analysis, released by the New York City Department of Health in May, reported that between 2005 and 2011 the opioid analgesic overdose fatality rate increased by 65 percent despite the fact that during the same period overall drug overdose deaths decreased by 22 percent. As the drug-of-choice has changed, so too has the image of the traditional drug dealer and addict. Increasingly, those using and abusing these drugs are white middle-class citizens.

According to the same report released by the NYC Department of Health, 56 percent of opioid analgesic overdose fatalities occurred in middle or high income neighborhoods. These are also the neighborhoods where the largest increase in overdose fatality rates were observed. From 2005 to 2011 overdose fatality rates increased in middle income neighborhoods 115 percent while high income neighborhood experienced a 110 percent increase.

The results of the analysis also show that a vast majority of overdose victims are white. The fatality rate for whites was four and a half time higher that the fatality rate for blacks and three times higher than the rate for latinos.

Additionally, contrary to popular belief, the victims of overdose are not just young recreational drug users. In New York City the largest share of overdose fatalities occur in the age range from 45 to 54 years old, accounting for 27 percent of New York City’s opioid overdose fatalities. This is a troubling fact that makes clear the line between prescription misuse and the path to prescription opiate addiction.”

Source: – September 4, 2013