STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (PIX11) — More than 3,000 people died from overdoses in New York City last year, the highest number ever.
A new treatment program at Staten Island University Hospital could be a game changer.
It is called “hot spotting.” It uses an algorithm developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to identify people with a high risk for overdose who have left treatment programs and have little access to care.
When the names are flagged, counselors reach out to people who have an opioid dependency to get them enrolled in the program.
They are assigned peer and substance abuse counselors and put on medication to wean them off fentanyl and other opioids.
In the last two years, 667 people with substance abuse issues have signed up for the hot spotting program.
Over that time only two participants died from a drug overdose. Compared to 11 deaths from 737 people with substance abuse issues who were approached but chose not to engage in the program.
More eye-popping numbers, non-fatal overdoses were 81% lower for those in the hot-spotting program. Emergency visits for a person with a substance use disorder in the program dropped 56%. Patient admissions dropped 43% compared to non-participants.
Experts are taking notice of the hot spotting program saying the commonsense approach could save thousands of lives if implemented on a large scale across New York and the country.