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NY City heroin deaths have doubled since 2010

Actor Seymour Phillip Hoffman was just one of the many affluent New Yorkers to die from a heroin overdose this year.
Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images

Heroin-related deaths continue to increase in New York City, doubling from 209 in 2010 to 420 in 2013, reflecting a national trend as more and more people are turning to the drug to relieve pain as prescription opoids become harder to comeby due to increased regulatory practices.

According Dr. Andrew Kolodnym head medical officer for Phoenix House Foundation (which helps addicts in several states)“many users in the 5 boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island) are becoming addicted to high-priced pain pills before moving on to heroin, which is significantly cheaper.”

“New York State should be doing much better in expanding access to treatment than it has been,” he added, while exclaiming that it doesn’t matter whether people are dying from prescription drug overdoses or that caused by street drugs, “it is essentially the same drug people are dying from.”

In addition, officials from the City’s health department noted that while Queens showed the largest increase in fatal heroin-related overdoses (up from 53 in 2013 to 81 in 2013), there has been an overall rise in these kinds of deaths among “whites, affluent users and Hispanics” in the Bronx.”

New York City, however, is not alone. Rates of heroin overdoses are soaring on Long Island, as well as other parts of the state, where dealers are reaping in big benefits thanks to the increasing demand and the large amount of “cheap” heroin pouring into the area from Mexican pipelines.