June 30, 2022 – The rate of overdose has prompted immediate action from DHS and has spurred calls for more effective federal, state and local strategies to keep drug users safe amid a spike in overdoses and drug-related deaths fueled mainly by Fentanyl-laced opioids across the country.

Julia Savel, a spokesperson for the Department of Social Services, which oversees DHS, said staff, emergency responders and other shelter residents managed to reverse 93 percent of the overdoses inside shelters using naloxone nasal spray last year.

“New York City’s pioneering and model approach on harm reduction continues to save lives amid a nationwide opioid crisis and overall pandemic-related increase in substance use challenges,” Savel said, adding that the agency is “equipping all of our shelter sites with dedicated supports to protect the health and safety of our clients.” 


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