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New York Saw a 19% Decline in Drug Treatment Enrollment Over the Past Decade

Data obtained from the Freedom of Information Act requests to New York State indicates that, amidst the rapidly escalating opioid epidemic, the number of patients in substance-abuse treatment programs in NYC has decreased.

Between 2010 and 2019 the average daily number of patients treated for drug addiction in our city decreased by 19%, or 11578 patients per day! Specific program losses include the most expensive, but most effective form of treatment - residential treatment - which was reduced by 35% (1537 beds).

It is not surprising that this shrinkage has been accompanied by increasing complaints regarding open-air drug use in New York City, and an increasing number of homeless shelters filling to capacity.

We support patient advocacy groups such as VOCAL and Drug Policy Alliance in advocating for more treatment, more residential programs, and a reversal of loss of these urgently needed services for our neighbors struggling with addiction.

On the map above we can see decreases in treatment enrollment throughout the city, particularly concentrated in gentrifying neighborhoods, without nearly enough new programs opening to replace them.

Recently, Governor Hochul has signed a new bill, reported by City Limits, to impose better governance on the closure of medical facilities in NYC, essentially acknowledging what The Greater Harlem Coalition has observed in our FOIL data visualizations. We hope this law will help reinstate some of the lost drug treatment beds and programs urgently needed by patients throughout the city where the losses have been greatest.

Data Takeaways

  • 23 districts saw the decreases of more than 200 patients
  • 4 districts saw decreases of more than 500 average daily opioid treatment patients - Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights, Brownsville and Jamaica, with Astoria close behind.
  • A city-wide drop of 35% (1,537 average daily patients) in residential programs occurred mostly in Queens and Brooklyn
  • A 14% decrease (4609 patients) in opioid treatment patients was mostly experienced in Brooklyn and Queens 


Opioid Treatment Enrollment derives from a 2021 OASAS Foil Request. Spreadsheet here, more information here.

Overdose trends come from the NY State Opioid Dashboard. Spreadsheet, more information here.