NYC Prescription Drug ODs Hit Record Levels
Metropolitan ER visits from painkillers and anxiety meds are high, but still a fraction of the national average
Even while New York City is still in the midst of a crippling Adderall shortage, the NYC Health Department announced this morning that the metropolitan area is experiencing record levels of prescription drug overdoses. According to a Health Department spokesman, city emergency room visits associated with OD’s from painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin have climbed 79 percent from 2004 to 2009. Over that same period, abuse of benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax increased 60 percent. The numbers are high, but NYC’s stats are for the most part a fraction of similar ones tallied nationwide. The one exception? Staten Island, where overdoses have increased in the triple digits. Go figure.