New York State Department of Health Issues Latest County Opioid Quarterly Report Showing 14% Increase in Opioid Overdoses

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

The Department Continues Innovative Programming to Combat the Opioid Epidemic and Support New Yorkers Battling Opioid Use Disorder Statewide.

Read the Full Report Here

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 17, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health today released its County Opioid Quarterly Report for January 2023, showing a 14% increase in 2021 overdose deaths involving opioids compared to 2020. As part of the State's ongoing work, this report provides timely information about county-level health impacts related to heroin and opioid use and this information enables local communities to better respond to the opioid crisis.

"The opioid epidemic continues to affect all of us, as Americans and New Yorkers. Deaths from overdose continue to increase nationally and locally and data can help inform and drive local solutions to this complex public health crisis." Acting State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "I commend the excellent work being done by the Department's Office of Public Health and Office of Health Equity & Human Rights, and our collaborators at the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports, for continuing to transform how we assist New Yorkers fighting the opioid epidemic and support the medical professionals who provide treatment."

The report, published quarterly, is authored by the State Department of Health and 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 metrics in a timely manner to directly inform on-the-ground efforts and 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. Fentanyl has contributed to an increase in opioid overdose deaths in recent years, is 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin, and is now involved in the majority of overdose deaths in New York State.

Key findings, comparing state totals for 2021 to 2020 data, include the following:

  • 14% increase in overdose deaths involving opioids, with 4,766 deaths in 2021.
  • 12.6% increase in outpatient Emergency Department visits due to opioid overdoses, with 10,430 visits in 2021.
  • 30.2% increase in outpatient Emergency Department visits due to opioid overdoses other than heroin, including illicitly produced opioids such as fentanyl, with 5,137 visits in 2021.
  • 11.8% increase in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) naloxone administration encounters, with 19,139 in 2021.

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.

Earlier this week, Governor Hochul proposed launching an interagency task force to expand on the State's harm reduction strategy options related to opioid use disorder treatment and harm reduction.

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.