State Department of Health Announces County Opioid Quarterly Report and Reminds New Yorkers of Standing Order to Get Naloxone Without a Prescription

Recommended by the New York State Heroin and Opioid Task Force, Report Directly Informs Local Treatment and Prevention Strategies

Read the Full Report HERE

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 17, 2022) - The New York State Department of Health today released its County Opioid Quarterly Report for October 2022, showing a 14% preliminary increase in 2021 overdose deaths involving opioids over the prior year. As part of the State's ongoing work to address the opioid crisis, this report provides timely information about county level health burdens related to heroin and opioid use. This enables local communities to respond to those needs.

In light of the these findings, the Department reminds New Yorkers that State Commissioner of Health Dr. Mary T. Bassett has issued a statewide pharmacy standing order for naloxone that took effect on August 15, 2022. Naloxone is a lifesaving medication that can be easily administered to block the effects of opioids allowing a stricken person to regain consciousness and resume normal breathing.

"Cases of overdose are on the rise both nationally and statewide, and about three-quarters of all overdose deaths in New York State now involve fentanyl," State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. "I'd like to remind the public our standing order for naloxone should put this lifesaving medication in the hands of more people to help reduce the number of fatal overdoses. I appreciate the hard work of the Department's team at the Office of Public Health and our partners at the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports for continuing to find new ways to help those dependent on opioids and those who treat them."

The report, published quarterly, is authored by the State Department of Health. It was established following a recommendation from the New York State Heroin and Opioid Task Force in 2016. The report provides county-level data on major opioid-related measures in a timely manner to directly inform on-the-ground efforts. It is a key component of the State's work to advance comprehensive solutions that target heroin and opioid abuse with a focus on prevention, education, treatment, and recovery.

More than 30,000 naloxone administrations have been reported to the Department based on reports received through September 6, 2022.

Key findings, comparing state totals for the third quarters of 2020 and 2021, from this report include the following:

  1. An increase of 14% in overdose deaths involving opioids.
  2. An increase of 2% in hospitalizations due to opioid overdoses.
  3. An increase of 7% in hospitalizations due to opioid overdoses excluding heroin, primarily caused by opioids such as fentanyl.
  4. An increase of 24% in outpatient Emergency Department visits due to opioid overdoses.
  5. An increase of 12% in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) naloxone administrations.

In addition to collecting and publishing these findings, the Department continues to support a variety of harm reduction initiatives to reduce the burden of opioid abuse and dependency statewide. This includes New York MATTERS, an electronic referral system for connecting persons with opioid use disorder to local treatment and harm reduction services; the Local Health Department Initiative, providing funding to 24 county health departments with the highest overdose rates outside of New York City to bolster primary care, corrections, harm reduction, emergency departments, public safety, and more; and over 900 registered Opioid Overdose Prevention Programs, which provide training to community members to recognize opioid overdoses and respond appropriately by calling 911 and administering naloxone—provided at no cost—the antidote for these overdoses; the Department's Naloxone Co-payment Assistance Program (N-CAP), in which individuals with prescription drug coverage as part of their health insurance have co-payments of up to $40 covered, resulting in no or lower out-of-pocket expenses.

Additionally, the State continues to advance 25 Syringe Exchange Programs (SEPs) with over 81 sites statewide. SEPs remain at the forefront of innovation in addressing the needs of New Yorkers who use drugs and lead in the distribution of naloxone to New Yorkers vulnerable to overdose. The State's 14 Drug User Health Hubs have been built upon the foundations of the SEPs. These centers focus on reducing overdose by providing easy access to buprenorphine, building safety plans with people who have experienced a non-fatal overdose and equipping participants with naloxone.

Read the full report here.

The public and providers are encouraged to recognize the signs of overdose and take advantage of the resources available through the Opioid Overdose Prevention Program to help those in need.

People with questions or requests for additional information should contact

About the Report

The New York State Department of Health's County Opioid Quarterly Reports provide data by quarter with annual totals for fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses (deaths, emergency department (ED) visits, and hospitalizations) by county. The report includes data from the New York State Department of Health Vital Statistics for death records, Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System for emergency department and hospital records, New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports' Client Data System for treatment admissions, Pre-hospital Care Reports, Law Enforcement Naloxone Administration, and Community Opioid Overdose Prevention Program Datasets for naloxone administrations.