In its latest effort to combat the drug addiction epidemic that has ravaged many areas of New York State, the Cuomo Administration is launching one more weapon from its vast prevention arsenal: advocacy and peer mentor-ship. The Governor is calling for volunteers for what are being called “clubhouses” to guide young addicts toward treatment and recovery. The four new facilities are designed to target young adults in recovery or are at risk of addiction by providing help in developing social skills that promote a drug-free lifestyle. The move is one more in a series of desperately needed measures to curtail fatal overdoses in the area, including Long Island and NYC.
In 2015, New York City saw 937 fatal overdoses, a considerable increase from the already tragically high number of 800 prior year and 541 in 2010. All tolled, the area has seen a 73 percent increase in overdose deaths over the last five years, most of which are directly attributable to heroin. Over that same five-year period, heroin deaths have increased 158 percent. Long Island is in a similar predicament, as more and more residents continue to succumb to opioid addiction. Fentanyl has surpassed heroin in urgency, claiming 220 Long Island residents in 2016 alone. Prescription painkillers continue to be a menace, as well.
As the death toll from opioid and other drugs continue continues to grow in New York, more and more and interventions are needed to make sure residents of all ages are getting the help they need; this includes making sure that younger addicts have the assistance they need to overcome their substance abuse and reclaim their lives. Governor Cuomo has dramatically increased efforts to curtail addiction and subsequent overdose throughout the Empire State; however, prevention and treatment access continue to be an uphill battle for those who need it the most.