Brooklyn is known around the world. It is the most populated borough of New York City, and it deals with high rates of substance abuse.
Although Brooklyn belongs to one of the most populous counties in the New York City area, it has one of the lowest rates of fatal drug overdoses.
As of 2015, Kings County, to which Brooklyn belongs, had an overdose death rate of 8.3 deaths per 100,000 people. The New York City region as a whole had an overdose death rate of 9.3 deaths per 100,000. The state had an overdose death rate of 12.1 deaths per 100,000 people.
The rate of overall substance abuse in Brooklyn causes hundreds of people to end up in the emergency room every year.
Between 2012 and 2014, the rate of outpatient emergency department visits involving any drug-related overdose among people 18 to 24 years old was 96.8 visits per 100,000 people. This number is lower than the New York City region average of 119.7 visits per 100,000 people, however, and the statewide average of 195.5 visits per 100,000 people.
According to data provided by the NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, residents of Brooklyn abuse many different drugs.
Substances that were involved in drug overdose deaths of Brooklyn residents in 2017 include:
As evidenced above, many people who die of overdose have multiple substances in their systems.
Brooklyn had the third highest rate of overdose deaths among New York City’s five boroughs in 2017. The fewest number of overdose deaths among Brooklyn residents was seen in those 15 to 24 years old, while those 55 to 64 years old had the highest rates of overdose deaths.
White Brooklyn residents had the largest number of overdose deaths, followed by black residents and then Latino residents.
The opioid overdose epidemic that has spread across the country over the past two decades is no stranger to New York. Overdose death rates are worse in the state of New York than across the United States.
In 2016, the death rate of opioid-related overdoses in New York was 15.1 deaths per 100,000 people compared to the national rate of 13.1 deaths per 100,000 people.
Since 2009, residents of New York have seen a twofold increase in the number of fatal overdoses caused by prescription opioids. Fatal heroin overdoses also more than doubled, while the number of deaths attributed to synthetic fentanyl use increased tenfold between 2012 and 2016.
The increase in synthetic opioid-related overdoses is mainly due to a rise in fentanyl consumption.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Many illicit manufacturers of synthetic opioids and other drugs mix fentanyl into their products to make them more potent and to stretch the batch so that they can make a larger profit.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), illicitly manufactured fentanyl is the main cause of the recent increase in synthetic opioid-related deaths around the country. Across the U.S., there was a 264 percent increase in these deaths between 2012 and 2015.
Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is often mixed with heroin, cocaine, or pressed prescription pills, often without the user knowing. Despite the rate of prescriptions being written for opioids declining, the number of fatal overdoses continues to rise in New York and throughout the United States.
Based on 2015 data collected by the New York City Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a percentage of youth throughout New York City experiment with various substances on a regular basis, though it might be to a lower degree than you would expect.
The reported rate of lifetime drug use for youth living in Brooklyn:
Throughout New York City, 15.9 percent of youth reported using marijuana within the last 30 days compared to 19.3 percent of youth in New York State and 21.7 percent of youth across the country.
When asked about their current drinking habits, 20.9 percent of youth reported using alcohol in the past 30 days, a number that was down by over 15 percent since the previous year. Over 32 percent of youth in the U.S. reported current alcohol use, which was down six percent of the prior year.
The City of New York has established a range of drug and alcohol use services to combat the increasing rates of substance use disorder and overdoses that are occurring throughout all of its five boroughs. The city offers many different free and low-cost services for people affected by drug and alcohol problems.
Whether you are interested in outpatient, residential, short-term, or long-term treatment programs, Brooklyn offers a wide range of addiction treatment facilities.
A sample of treatment resources located in Brooklyn includes:
If you are looking for substance use treatment in Brooklyn or anywhere in New York, the state has provided its residents with a Substance Abuse Treatment Locator. This free and anonymous service helps you to find state-certified outpatient and residential programs in your area.
An additional resource available for New York City residents is NYC Well, an online chat service that includes phone and text lines. Available around the clock and in over 200 languages, NYC Well offers free and confidential crisis counseling, peer support, and referral services for issues surrounding substance abuse and mental health.
(2019). Drug & Alcohol Use Services. The City of New York. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/alcohol-and-drug-use-services.page
(February 2018). New York Opioid Summary. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state/new-york-opioid-summary
(December 2018). Opioid Overdose: Fentanyl. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/fentanyl.html
New York State Department of Health (2018) Opioid Annual Report. Retrieved from. from https://health.ny.gov/statistics/opioid/data/pdf/nys_opioid_annual_report_2018.pdf
(2017). Overdose Deaths Among Brooklyn Residents, 2017. NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/basas/overdose-deaths-among-residents-bk.pdf
(2015). Prevalence of Illicit Drug Use Misuse Among Youth by Demographics, New York City. NYC Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/basas/youthdrugdemogsotherIllicit2015.pdf