Long Island has long been described as ground zero for the heroin and opiate epidemic. In a National Safety Council report, Long Island residents accounted for over 20% of fatal overdoses in New York in 2017. Finding the root of the problem remains a tangled web of threads. Drug trends point to the population of the island as a major driver for illegal drug businesses. Aside from being densely populated, Long Island also has many young people.
The demographics create a hotspot that is hard to ignore. The laws of demand and supply support the epidemic. Long Island is home to some of the wealthiest communities in the United States. Nassau and Suffolk have among the highest median household incomes in the U.S. Without a doubt; the active population is well off to afford these drugs.
There is a Drug Abuse Epidemic on Long Island
The White House has declared, that drug abuse with opioid addiction is a public health emergency. New York State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, bemoans the drug crisis on Long Island. The arrival of the synthetic drug, fentanyl, has worsened the epidemic and increased the death toll. He stated that drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids soared by 27% between 2015 and 2016, while fentanyl-related deaths almost doubled at the same time. Drug overdose causes one-third of all deaths recorded in Nassau County every year. The majority of the victims are aged from 15 to 44 years. Schneiderman rightly blamed both prescription and illicit opioids for these deaths.
Furthermore, residents of the island are generally willing to take these drugs. Their desire is enabled by a healthcare system that overprescribes these drugs. Over-prescription by physicians has been pointed out as the main problem. They allegedly prescribe opioids too easily and as a one-size-fits-all. It is not uncommon for oxycodone to be prescribed for a simple headache. Oftentimes, drugs are dispensed without enough warnings.
Death from Opioids is High
According to the National Safety Council analysis, the odds of dying accidentally from an opioid overdose is 1 in 96. This beats the odds of dying in a motor vehicle crash. On the east coast, Suffolk County is not immune to the drug bug. It is the worst-hit county on Long Island. Nearly 70 percent of the opioid deaths in 2017 occurred in Suffolk County. A county legislator, Sarah Anker, who is on the county’s opiate advisory panel, confirms that the county is struggling with an overwhelming opiate epidemic.
According to a 2016 County Health Ranking, Long Island recorded a staggering number of deaths. Nassau and Suffolk recorded 501 and 823 deaths, respectively. Queens and Kings also recorded 464 and 621 deaths respectively. Besides, about 45,450 Long Islanders struggle with drugs, but the effects of transcending addiction and death. The island is also bleeding a lot of money fast. The domino effect of these drugs affects businesses, taxpayers, emergency services, and law enforcement. The drug crisis is crippling Long Island’s economy. The island loses roughly $22 million daily and $8 billion yearly to drugs.
Drugs Involved in the Epidemic
The drug abuse epidemic has cast a long shadow on the island. Among the drugs that are mostly abused are:
- Oxycodone and other prescription opioids.
- Xanax, Valium, and other benzodiazepines.
Finding Addiction Help on Long Island
Disbelief, denial, and shame are the biggest barriers to finding treatment on Long Island. Residents are heartbroken at the sight of their loved ones struggling with drugs. The reason is that these drugs affect silently. They never know their loved one is struggling with drugs until it is too late.
Long Island Interventions is dedicated to helping people get back their lives from drug use. Through our interventionists, you will receive a personalized recovery plan. Call our addiction helpline to get started.