Mayor Adams Takes The Lead: Hosting A Crucial Summit On America’s Fentanyl Crisis

September 28, 2023

 NYC Mayor Eric Adams today announced plans to host elected leaders, public health officials, and law enforcement professionals from across the country in NYC next week for a summit on the fentanyl crisis in America.

The two-day summit will include strategy sessions focused on education, enforcement, awareness, prevention, and treatment with the goal of developing a national strategy to combat the scourge of fentanyl.

Fentanyl is now the most common drug involved in overdose deaths in New York City, including the death of a one-year-old boy in the Bronx earlier this month. Drug overdoses killed 2,668 individuals in New York City in 2021 — a 78 percent increase since 2019 — with fentanyl detected in 80 percent of those deaths.

“From the farms of small-town America to the sidewalks of the biggest city in the country, we see the effects of addiction and the danger of fentanyl across this entire nation,” said Mayor Adams. “As opioid use skyrockets, illegal drugs are often contaminated with fentanyl or other dangerous substances, and overdoses have hit historic levels, including in New York City. Last year was the worst year on record for overdose deaths in our nation’s history. We cannot allow this crisis to continue taking lives and destroying communities. Together, we will work to develop a national framework to prevent fatal overdoses, get treatment to people who need it, enhance enforcement efforts, and increase educational outreach to save lives, dreams, and families.”

“The opioid overdose crisis persists to be one of the greatest public health issues of our time,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “This summit will offer opportunities to exchange ideas with key local leaders in public health and in law enforcement from around the country and ultimately help us chart a path forward to help New Yorkers and all Americans affected by this issue.”

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“We can’t lose sight of the fact that behind every overdose statistic, there’s a person who deserved to live, a shattered family, and a community in pain,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III. “That’s why it is essential that we approach the fentanyl crisis not just as a problem to solve but as a collective responsibility. With this summit, the Adams administration is bringing together the right people to figure out what pieces of the puzzle are missing, from harm reduction and treatment efforts to going after the people responsible for putting this poison on our streets.”

“Overdoses affect all of us, and fentanyl is driving the overdose epidemic in New York City and across the nation,” said New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “New York City has set ambitious goals and taken bold and innovative action to reduce overdose deaths. But all of us are grappling with fentanyl and how it challenges all of our public health efforts. We look forward to sharing and learning from other jurisdictions on how we can save American lives.”

“The fentanyl crisis has impacted every neighborhood in our nation,” said New York City Police Department Commissioner Edward A. Caban. “Along with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, the NYPD is committed to ridding our streets of illegal drugs and holding those who would peddle this poison fully accountable under the law. We are also eager to be a part of this summit, and to share in the many innovative ways we can keep the people we serve safe. The stakes could not be any higher — and we will never stop fighting for New Yorkers.”

“In countless conversations with Mayor Adams and my fellow brother and sister mayors in the U.S. Conference of Mayors, it has become evident that the ongoing opioid epidemic is a shared challenge all major cities are facing,” said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “In New Orleans, we are fortunate to have all our public safety and health teams working proactively and collaboratively to ensure we have the tools and information necessary to protect our people. The New Orleans Health Department Behavioral Health Unit has been distributing naloxone, or Narcan, directly to the public through outreach programs, and — through our Office of Nighttime Economy — more bars and music venues are training their staff and keeping Narcan on hand. The New Orleans Fire Department and our Emergency Medical Services are also equipped with Narcan kits for the public. By making free doses of Narcan widely available and training the public and city employees on how to properly administer doses, we are doing our part to keep our people safe and end this tragedy.”

“Communities across the country are facing a fast-changing drug supply and a dramatic rise in fatal overdoses with each passing year,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “In Philadelphia, we are witnessing not only a rise in overdose rates but growing racial disparities as well. My administration is committed to using every available tool for prevention, treatment, and healing, and we look forward to the New York City summit as an opportunity to share with and learn from our colleagues across the U.S. Like any epidemic, the overdose crisis impacts all municipalities, and we must all work together if we are to succeed in saving lives and healing communities.”

“As we are seeing deaths related to overdoses reach historic proportions in Laredo, fentanyl has created a public health crisis in every community across the United States,” said Laredo Mayor Dr. Victor Treviño. “From speaking to families in the hospitals devastated by these overdoses, some of the biggest challenges will be to encourage parents to talk to their children about fentanyl-contaminated drugs being marketed to them. Tackling this problem is going to take a binational and society-wide approach.”

“We continue to see an unprecedented rate of overdose deaths impacting every community,” said Dr. Siddarth Puri, associate medical director of prevention, Substance Abuse Prevention and Control Bureau, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “Unintentional fentanyl overdoses are now the leading cause of death among adults aged 18-45. We must be committed to a continuum of approaches to reducing overdoses and helping people across the spectrum of substance use — from those who may be experimenting to those with substance use disorders. Harm reduction is a data-backed approach that reduces overdoses, prevents unnecessary deaths in our communities, and connects those in need with critical services, including treatment.”

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