NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Drug use in the city is becoming more and more deadly, according to data released by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

“We think this is an epidemic,” said Assistant Health Commissioner Dr. Hillary Kunins.

The numbers are startling, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported. Over the past five years, overdose deaths are up 66 percent and heroin deaths have jumped 158 percent.

“There’s been increased in opioid analgesics or prescription painkillers – both the amount of prescribing, the amount of people exposed to those prescription painkillers,” Kunins said. “And we know those are risky drugs.”

The city is spending $25 million over the next three years to try to stem the tide.


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