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13 People Fatally Overdose in 3 Weeks on Staten Island, DA Says

By Nicholas Rizzi | August 9, 2017 2:53pm

STATEN ISLAND — Thirteen people died from drug overdoses around the borough in the past three weeks and 16 other people were saved by the anti-overdose drug naloxone, District Attorney Michael McMahon announced Wednesday.

Lab results have not determined the specific drugs used by the 29 victims since July 17, but heroin and pills were found at most of the scene, the DA's office said.

The announcement comes a day after President Donald Trump vowed to fight opioid abuse around the country — blaming President Barack Obama for not doing enough — but offered no concrete plan on how to fix it, the New York Times reported. 

New York City has been in the throes of an opioid epidemic for more than 10 years, with Staten Island and The Bronx being hit the hardest for overdose deaths.

► READ MORE: Families Torn Apart By Opioid Epidemic

Overdose deaths were up 46 percent across the city last year, with Staten Island having its deadliest year on record since 2000 with 116 residents dying.

Officials blamed the spike on the introduction of fentanyl — a synthetic opioid that's 50 times more potent than heroin — to batches. The drug was found in 44 percent of overdose cases, according to the Department of Health.

"Staten Island is still in the grip of a deadly heroin and opioid epidemic that’s killing our loved ones and neighbors every day," McMahon said in a statement.

► READ MORE: Opioids Almost Stole His Life, Now He Dedicates It to Helping Others

To help tackle the problem, McMahon previously started an initiative to treat every overdose like a crime scene to help trace the source of drugs and launched a program to drop charges for low-level drug offenders who seek treatment.

Last month he introduced a website, SIHope.org, that offers information on how to find addiction help and launched a lawn sign campaign to raise awareness of the issue.