The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York (NYC PBA) today released a PBA Community Safety Bulletin that warns New Yorkers of the growing opioid epidemic in the city and provides important information about resources for New Yorkers struggling with abuse and addiction in their families. The bulletins were mailed to households on Staten Island’s South Shore and four neighborhoods in the Bronx – approximately 14,000 bulletins in total – that correspond to the highest per capita rates of opioid related overdose deaths in 2015-2016, according to City’s Chief Medical Examiner and the NYC Department of Health. On Wednesday morning PBA President Patrick J. Lynch and PBA members also gathered at major transit hubs in the high-risk areas to distribute the pamphlets to New Yorkers.
The rise in opioid abuse is an acute public safety crisis that New York City police officers have been fighting for some time: every year since 2014, NYC has seen more overdose deaths than murders and traffic deaths combined. As the crisis grows, PBA members increasingly are being relied upon to assist those in danger due to abuse. Police officers have already saved 111 lives using the overdose-prevention drug naloxone, and the PBA recently agreed, as part of its latest contract, to have all members carry the important life-saving drug and be trained in its use.
In addition to providing New Yorkers an overview of opioids and the dangers of their abuse, the bulletin also provides keys for preventing abuse within families and a guide to helpful resources, including information for the NY State Task Force to Combat Heroin & Prescription Drug Abuse hotline.
PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said:
“For New York City police officers, this is personal. All of us have seen, up close, the damage that opioids can cause within families and entire communities. We have already saved hundreds of lives out on the street using life-saving drugs, but that alone will not end this crisis. We must tackle this problem at the ground level by working with our neighbors to stop the spread of these drugs and prevent overdoses from happening altogether. This crisis impacts every New Yorker, which is why we are reaching out to the neighborhoods that are hardest hit and doing our part.”