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Analysis finds drug-related deaths growing worse in New York

By Charles McChesney


ALBANY, N.Y. — More New Yorkers are dying from drug abuse, an analysis has found, as drug-related deaths jumped 29 percent from 2015 to 2016.

In 2015, 3,009 New Yorkers died from drugs. In 2016, that number jumped to 3,894, according to a report from the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

The rate of drug-related deaths surged from 15.2 for every 100,000 residents to 19.7 per 100,000 people between 2015 and 2016. The more recent rate means drugs killed nearly one of every 5,000 New Yorkers in 2016.

The increase was worse among men — who saw a 31 percent increase — than among women. But women saw a 24 percent increase.

Black New Yorkers were among the hardest hit by the epidemic. Drug-related deaths among blacks in the state rose 57 percent compared to 26 percent for whites, according to the institute’s analysis. In 2016, 577 black New Yorkers died from drugs, the report said.

Metropolitan New York saw deaths rise 39 percent. Counties beyond the New York City region saw deaths up 23 percent.

New York state’s increase was notably worse than the nation’s as the state’s death rate from drugs climbed from 34th in the U.S. to 27th. Nationally, 42,249 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, five times greater than in 1999.

The Rockefeller Institute report’s first sentence summarized the issue: “The opioid epidemic continues to ravage the nation.”

Contact McChesney at

Image credit: Rockefeller Institute of Government report



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