SCHUMER: REPORT REVEALS OPIOID SCOURGE IS ACCELERATING AND TAKING DEADLY TOLL IN UPSTATE NEW YORK – UP BY 23%; SENATOR LAUNCHES A NEW DRIVE TO FIGHT CRISIS BY PUSHING FOR MAJOR INCREASE OF FED FUNDS DURING NEXT WEEK’S FINAL BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS
Data Shows 2016 Rate of Drug Overdose Deaths in the U.S. Increased By An Unprecedented 21 Percent; Counties Across Upstate New York Have Not Been Spared, With a 23 Percent Increase in Number of Deaths Since Last Year
Schumer Says Startling New CDC Data Is Yet Another Shot Across the Bow, And a Reason We Must Secure Additional Federal Funds To Deploy Here in New York
Schumer: Congress Needs To Target More Money To Upstate New York To Beat Back Opioid Scourge – And To Treat And Cure the Afflicted; Budget Deal Must Include Major New Commitment of Funding to Reverse Spike in Opioid Deaths
On a conference call with reporters, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today launched a major push to fight the accelerating and deadly opioid crisis, which is having massive negative impacts across Upstate New York. Specifically, Schumer said he will prioritize and push to secure additional federal funds during final budget negotiations now occurring in Congress to help Upstate New York counties beat back this scourge. Schumer cited a recently released CDC report that shows life expectancy in the United States has fallen for the second year in a row – the first time it has done so in more than 50 years, and researchers suggest this major public health concern is in part due to the opioid epidemic. In 2016, the rate of drug overdose deaths across the country was 21 percent higher than the rate in 2015. Specifically, in upstate New York, overdose deaths skyrocketed by 23 percent last year, with a total of 1,392 opioid overdose deaths in 2016. With the looming budget deal in Congress, Schumer said is the time to push for increased federal funding to better support the federal agencies that are fighting on the front lines of this crisis, like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and are providing the prevention, treatment and recovery service programs that Upstate New York communities desperately need.
“It can’t be said enough: the opioid crisis in Upstate New York and every corner of our country is a national emergency that’s taken the lives of far too many Americans. The situation is urgent and it requires an urgent and substantial response from Congress,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why, as budget deal negotiations continue, I will do everything in my power to secure additional grant funds in New York that could help our counties beat back the accelerating rate of death and human devastation caused by the opioid epidemic. Federal funding, made possible by the 21st Century Cures Act, helps communities combat this national crisis by supporting prevention, treatment and recovery programs that could help us turn the tide against this tragic scourge, and Congress must double down on this effort as part of this budget deal.”
According to a report released by the National Center for Health Statistics titled, “Mortality in the United States,” life expectancy in the United States has fallen for the second year in a row. The last time U.S. life expectancy dropped for two years in a row was in the 1960s. According to the report, U.S. life expectancy fell from 78.7 in 2015 to 78.6 in 2016; this follows a drop from 78.9 in 2014.
Researchers suggest the opioid epidemic has contributed to the drop in life expectancy. A separate report conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics titled, “Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States,” says that the rate of drug overdose deaths in 2016 was 21 percent higher than the rate in 2015. Specifically, in 2016 there were more than 63,600 drug overdose deaths in the United States, and more than 42,200 of them were attributed to opioids; in 2015 more than 52,400 deaths were attributed to overdoses, and 33,000 of them involved opioids. The rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, doubled between 2015 to 2016, from 3.1 to 6.2 per 100,000.
Schumer said Upstate New York has not been spared by the drug abuse epidemic. According to the NYS Department of Health:
- In Central New York, in 2016, there were 242 opioid-related deaths, an increase of 84 from 2015– up 53 %
- In the Rochester-Finger Lakes region, in 2016, there were 172 opioid-related deaths, an increase of 53 from 2015– up 45%
- In the Southern Tier, region, in 2016, there were 125 opioid-related deaths, an increase of 35 from 2015– up 39%
- In Hudson Valley, region, in 2016, there were 340 opioid-related deaths, an increase of 45 from 2015– up 15%
- In Western New York, region, in 2016, there were 343 opioid-related deaths, an increase of 35 from 2015– up 11%
- In the Capital Region, in 2016, there were 111 opioid-related deaths, an increase of 5 from 2015– up 5%
- In the North Country, region, in 2016 and 2015, there were 59 opioid-related deaths
With the federal budget deal looming in Congress, Schumer today said that now is the time to fight for an increase in funds to combat opioid addiction in New York State. Specifically, Schumer pointed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants provided under the 21st Century Cures Act. These grants are provided to each state to help combat the opioid crisis. The pot of funding is administered through SAMHSA and supports prevention, treatment, and recovery service programs.
In Fiscal Year 2017, $485 million in opioid crisis grants were awarded to states across the country. Of that, New York State received $25 million. The remaining $500 million allocated under the 21st Century Cures Act will be distributed in the near future. Schumer said that, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the economic cost of the opioid epidemic was $504 billion in 2015.
Schumer today said, as Senate Minority Leader, he will do everything in his power to fight for an increase in opioid crisis grant funds for New York State. Schumer said that Upstate New York, in particular, depends on the upcoming budget deal to beat back its opioid scourge and that organizations in the Upstate New York could use the funds for prevention and treatment programs throughout the state.
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