Staten Island Opioid Crisis

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Staten Island Opioid Crisis

Recently, a study was conducted by researchers at Columbia University’s School of Internal and Public Affairs. They focused on the opioid epidemic in Staten Island.

It has been found that the Island had the largest overdose rates in all of New York City, last year in 2016. Currently, these numbers have exceeded the death tolls of the highest effected states in the nation.

Researchers found that treatment centers are extremely scarce on Staten Island, especially where they need it the most.

According to the study:

“Zip code 10306, for example, has the single highest overdose rate per 100,000 people (26.8), yet it is absent of any outpatient MAT [medicated-assisted treatment] or inpatient clinics,”

It’s unsettling to know that there are only three inpatient clinics with only one offering detox treatment. There are only two options for Medication Assisted Treatment, which both are constantly full, turning those in need away.

Summit Behavioral Health director Patricia Allen believes that the reason treatment options are so hard to find because of the ”pandemic nature of opioid dependence.”

“Resources cannot keep up with the pace of this growing opioid epidemic,” she said in an email. “Twenty percent of those with a substance use disorder receive substance abuse treatment.  Only ten percent of those with an opiate use disorder receive treatment.”

She mentioned how a lot of recovering addicts don’t receive any type of MAT which is essentially a “safety net” during the treatment process. This can compromise the success of recovery.

Participants from the study took measures to interview “political officials, law enforcement officials, people in recovery, academic researchers and service providers.”

The top priority was unanimous between the five groups of people: the need for more treatment centers. There needs to be enough treatment space for everyone in need willing to receive help.

There is also a need for more medication assisted treatment offered at centers in the area. This will require some specialists in the area to receive training to be able to administer the medicine.

It is important that each person is educated on all of the different treatment options so that they can find which method suits them best. It will impact their success significantly.

“Treatment for opiate dependence cannot exist in silos,” Allen said. “Partnerships in care are essential.”