Overdose deaths in the city continued to climb in 2021, reaching new record highs that topped record overdose deaths the previous year, according to provisional data released on Thursday by the Department of Health.
There were 2,668 drug overdose deaths across the five boroughs in 2021, an increase of 78% since 2019 and 27% since 2020, the report found.
“These deaths are heartbreaking and many, if not most, are absolutely preventable,” Dr. Ashwin Vasan, health commissioner, said in a statement.
The report found disparities by age, race, poverty level, and neighborhood of residence.
According to the provisional data, overdose deaths among males in 2021 were about three times as high as deaths among females.
Black New Yorkers had the highest rate of overdose deaths among ethnic groups, as well as the largest increase of ethnic groups from 2020 to 2021, city provisional data shows.
Fentanyl was detected in 80% of the drug overdose deaths in 2021 and was the most common substance involved in overdose deaths for the fifth year in a row, according to the city. The opioid is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
New Yorkers ages 55 to 64 years old, and Bronx residents, also had the highest rate of overdose deaths compared to other age groups and boroughs.