Fatal overdoses on the rise on Staten Island since 2021; fentanyl, prescription drugs to blame, police say
PUBLIC SECURITY WATCH: This story is part of an ongoing series as Advance/SILive.com partners with the NYPD to keep Staten Island residents informed about crime and public safety issues in their neighborhoods.
STATEN ISLAND, NY – Fatal overdoses are on the rise on Staten Island so far this year, police say.
There were at least 63 overdoses in 2022, compared to 56 at the same time in 2021 – a 13% increase, according to data provided by the NYPD.
Of the 63 excesses, 25 of them occurred within the boundaries of the 120th arrondissement – the most in any of the four boroughs on the island and an increase of two from last year. The 122nd Precinct was close behind with 17 overdoses – a slight increase from last year’s total of 15.
The 121st and 123rd precincts round out the list respectively, with 10 and 11 overdoses. The 123rd arrondissement, however, saw the largest percentage increase of any borough. — 57%. At this time in 2021, 7 overdoses have been reported there.
The 121st arrondissement, on the other hand, was the only arrondissement to see a drop in the number of overdoses, from 11 to 10.
Naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote given by first responders to victims, has been successful 105 times this year, according to NYPD data. Both the 120th and 122nd Wards have seen the most savings in naloxone use so far this year with 51 and 29. The 120th Ward’s numbers are up 23 from last year, while that the 122nd precinct had 12 fewer naloxone stops. The 121st and 123rd precincts also saw a decrease in stops this year – from 16 to 12 and from 19 to 13.
“The people of Staten Island know all too well the deadly impact of addiction and substance abuse on our families and with the rise of fentanyl and its analogues flooding our streets, overdoses across the borough have claimed the lives of far too many of our loved ones and neighbours. Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said in a statement.
In terms of incidents, not all of which were fatal, the biggest increase was seen among people aged 51 and over. The total number of incidents in this group increased from 44 this time last year to 59 this year. Among those aged 31 to 40, there was no increase from last year’s total of 54.
There were 28 overdoses among 18 to 30 year olds, the same number as last year. And 25 of the overdoses occurred in people between the ages of 41 and 50, down from last year’s total of 34.
In an effort to reduce the number, the NYPD has implemented a prescription drop box program that allows individuals to safely dispose of unused/unused prescription medications. The drop boxes are located in the four districts of the borough.
“Friends and family should be a driving force in providing loved ones with the help they need,” Chief Gin Yee said. “Often drug addicts don’t realize they need help.”
Other resources for individuals include the Richmond County Attorney’s Office diversion program called SIHOPE.
“As we continue to fight this scourge and raise awareness that this five-alarm fire continues to rage, rest assured that my office is doing everything in its power to hold accountable those who flood our streets with poison and divert those plagued by addiction in lifesaving treatment and recovery programs,” McMahon said.
Earlier this year, Advance/SILive.com examined the state of the drug crisis on Staten Island in its ongoing series, “Fentanyl: A Killer Concealed.”
Part one: One of these pills is Genuine Oxycodone. The other contains fentanyl. The difference kills Staten Islanders. | Second part: From China to Mexico via Staten Island: the fentanyl pipeline. | Part Three: He thought he was using heroin, then he “just gave up”. The man details the night he almost died. | Fourth part : They battled their addiction to fentanyl – then the pandemic hit. How isolation led 2 SI men to relapse. | Fifth part: “We are the infantry.” A look at how law enforcement is fighting back in New York’s war on fentanyl.