Opioids fuel 50% spike in drug overdose deaths in NYC

The New York City Police Department said there has been a 50 percent uptick in drug overdose deaths in the city thus far in 2017, according to NY1.

The comments came during a national conference hosted at NYPD headquarters Thursday. Law enforcement, health and education officials from around the country attended the event.

"People are overdosing at probably three times the rate you had back [during] the crack cocaine epidemic," said Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum, according to NY1.

The increase in drug overdose deaths is largely attributable to opioids, including heroin and the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which is 50 times more powerful than morphine. Drug dealers often cut fentanyl into heroin to increase the potency of a batch. The combination is a lethal one, resulting in a rash of drug overdoses across the nation.

The NYPD responded to nine opioid overdoses during a 24-hour period this week beginning Wednesday and ending Thursday, four of which were fatal, according to ABC7NY.

More articles on opioids: 
Study: Private insurance claim lines related to opioids rose 1,459% in NYC suburbs 
Rutgers releases toolkit to combat opioid epidemic in New Jersey 
Louisiana governor backs legislation to limit opioid prescriptions

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