NYC will spend $22M more fighting the opioid crisis

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The opioid crisis continues to plague New York City, killing hundreds of New Yorkers die every year.

In an effort to fight the problem, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced increased funding to the city's HealingNYC program.

"As painful as this crisis is, we are beginning to see some real progress," de Blasio said Monday at the Richmond University Medical Center on Staten Island.

In 2016, the city reported, more New Yorkers died from drug overdoses than suicides, homicides and motor vehicle crashes combined.

One year ​ago the mayor launched HealingNYC to combat New York City's growing opioid crisis. Now he is vowing to add $22 million to the city's opioid fight, making it a $60 million annual investment.

It's a crisis that has impacted many. Fredi Weinstein's son Miles Coughlin died in 2016 from a drug overdose. He was newly out of detox, but the lure of fentanyl proved too strong.

"Sometimes I feel like I struggle to breathe," Weinstein said. "Later the police told me he was one of 20 people to overdose that weekend because of fentanyl.

His story is not unique.

The key, the administration said, is to focus on destigmatizing addiction so more people get help. The expansion of HealingNYC will create more outreach in and outside of hospitals, as well as the increased distribution of Noloxone, the medicine that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.

Starting this coming summer, FDNY EMS workers will begin to distribute Naloxone kits to homes where they have responded to an overdose.​

"From 2016 to 2017 the number of deaths is starting to flatten rather than continue to shoot upwards," Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio said.

Hours after the mayor's announcement on Staten Island, President Donald Trump made his own opioid declaration from New Hampshire.

"If we don't get tough on the drug dealers, we are wasting our time. Just remember that, we're wasting our time. And that toughness includes the death penalty," Trump said.

Mayor de Blasio said he hopes this new investment and expansion of the HealingNYC program will help save as many as 400 lives by 2022.

"One of the things our Police Commissioner Jimmy O'Neill has said, you can't arrest your way out of the opioid crisis," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

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