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Targeting an Epidemic: Opioid Prescribing Patterns by County in New York State



Funding Area



December 2017


This NYHealth-produced data snapshot examines trends in opioid prescriptions and opioid abuse in New York State.

Opioid abuse is a public health crisis for the nation and New York State. Between 2009 and 2015, the number of deaths across New York State resulting from prescription opioids alone nearly doubled. In 2015, prescription opioids factored into approximately half of all drug-related deaths and about two-thirds of all opioid-related deaths.

The opioid epidemic is fueled by both lawful and illegally obtained opioids. Nearly 9 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed in New York State in 2015. Between 2011 and 2014, approximately 145,000 New Yorkers annually abused or were dependent on opioids.

This data snapshot looks at opioid prescribing trends by county in New York State from 2010 to 2015, using publically available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most research on the opioid epidemic has focused on state-level data, which masks important differences between smaller geographic areas.

New York State is taking numerous steps to combat the opioid crisis. Understanding geographic variation within the State is essential to targeting these interventions appropriately.

400 % The difference in opioid prescribing per capita between Sullivan County and Kings County
145 k New Yorkers abused or were dependent on opioids between 2011 and 2014