If you weren’t already convinced that prescription painkiller abuse is a major crisis in this city, the Health Department today came out with a range of shocking new numbers to hammer the point home.
Between 2006 and 2011, citywide overdose deaths linked to prescription painkillers jumped by 65 percent, the agency says, with a jump of 261 percent in Staten Island alone. In 2011, 220 New Yorkers fatally overdosed on pills, including 40 people from Staten Island.
Along with the spike in overdoses, the number of painkiller prescriptions jumped by 31 percent, from 1.6 million to 2.2 million between 2008 and 2011. Most of the increase came from people aged 25 to 34, and over 250,000 New Yorkers or 4 percent of the entire city population reported misusing painkillers.