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REGION — Sullivan County in New York, and Wayne and Pike counties in Pennsylvania have been among the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic that has ravaged the country over the past decade. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nationally, overdose deaths rose from 16,849 in 1999 to 70,237 in 2017.
Sullivan County is in the top 10 in the state terms of rates of overdose deaths. Regarding overdoses from all opioids, both prescription and illicit and including heroin, in 2017 there were 25 overdose deaths, in 2016 there were 16 and in 2015 there were 19 deaths. The population is about 76,000, and the rate of deaths per 100,000 people during those three years was about 23.
In 2016, The New York Times reported that Sullivan County had the fifth highest rate of heroin overdoses in the state.
According to a University of Pittsburgh project, “Pennsylvania experienced 5,456 drug-related overdose deaths in 2017. This number represents a rate of 43 deaths per 100,000, far exceeding the national average of 22 per 100,000 in 2017.”
Regarding deaths from all forms of opioids overdoses, including from prescription drugs and heroin, in Pike County in 2017 there were 13 deaths, in 2016 there were 10, and in 2015 there were six. The percentage change from 2015 to 2017 was an increase of 117%
Deaths from all opioids and including prescription and other illicit drugs from 2015 through 2017 there were 45 overdose deaths in Wayne County. In 2017 there were 12 deaths, in 2016 there were 16, and in 2015 there were 17. In 2016 and 2017, there were more deaths caused by fentanyl overdoses as heroin overdoses.
There was a 29% decrease in opioid overdoses from 2015 through 2019.