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20% of All NYC’s Methadone Patients Are Sent to Harlem for Treatment

Harlem has only 4% of New York City’s population, but 20% of all patients who receive methadone in New York City are sent to receive it in Harlem and East Harlem. Patients travel hours away from their families and jobs for the treatment they can’t obtain in their communities.

The map of methadone distribution in New York City below shows how certain communities are packed with drug treatment programs, while others have nothing to serve their community members.

It is difficult to come up with a clearer visualization of how Harlem and East Harlem support far more than their fair share of opioid treatment programs and patients than the graph below:

If Harlem and East Harlem have less than 1,000 residents in opioid treatment programs, why are over 2,500 patients sent to our community to get their daily dose of methadone?

Harlem and East Harlem have shouldered more than their fair share for generations. This oversaturation needs to end, and needs to end now.

Note these treatment capacities include OTP (Opioid Treatment Program), residential  treatment, in-patient, the crisis management, of which OTP is the majority of such  capacities. 

  • Central/East Harlem (community boards 10 and 11) with 3% of NYC’s  population has 6527 capacities or 18% of NYC’s patients.  
  • These two districts only rank 5th and 6th in overdose rates in 2019  (source: NYC data) 
  • East Harlem with 1.5% of NYC’s population has 4990 capacities, the highest of all NYC, which is almost twice as high as capacities in all 14 districts in  Queens combined with 2542 capacities. Note that Queens has 27% of NYC’s  population 
  • The top 15 districts by OASAS certified capacities have 28127 capacities (or 77% of total capacities) and the bottom 15 districts have only 62 capacities (i.e., 0.2% total capacities). The top 15 and bottom 15 districts both have  about 22% of NYC’s population.  
  • There are 26 out of 57 districts without any opioid treatment options. There  are 10 districts without OTP, crisis, residential, in-patient capacities allocated,  which includes Financial Districts, Long Island City, Kingsbridge, Parkchester,  Bayridge, Sheepshead bay, Co-op City, and Wakefield.

(note: Amongst them, Co-op City and Bayridge appear to not even  have any out-patient treatment facilities, based on CHAN 2020 FOIL)


See more graphics here: