This week, NYC Health launched a new television ad campaign highlighting the risks of prescription painkillers, also known as opioid analgesics. In New York City, the opioid analgesic overdose death rate increased 267 percent between 2000 and 2011, followed by a slight decrease in 2012. Opioid analgesics include drugs such as oxycodone (e.g., Percocet® or OxyContin®) and hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin®). In 2012, Staten Islanders had the highest rate of opioid analgesic overdose deaths – more than three times as high as all other boroughs.
To specifically address opioid analgesic misuse and abuse on Staten Island, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley led two conferences in June for doctors and dentists in the borough. From June to August 2013, NYC Health visited more than 1,000 health care providers across Staten Island to educate them about the Department’s opioid prescribing guidelines and increase awareness about opioid analgesic misuse and its health consequences. With Staten Island University Hospital, the Health Department co-sponsored a training for physicians on the use of the effective medication buprenorphine, for treating opioid addiction. The Health Department also supplies naloxone, a medication that can reverse opioid overdoses, to overdose prevention programs. Additionally, the New York City guidelines for prescribing opioids from emergency departments have been adopted by 35 emergency departments across the City.
Read the full Press Release, and watch one of the two new TV ads above and the other ad here.