Opioid Epidemic—Needs Assessment of the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Systems of Care in the Bronx

Opioid-related drug overdoses have increased dramatically across New York City since 2009. In 2016, there were 265 overdose fatalities involving heroin and/or fentanyl in the Bronx, the highest across all five boroughs. This Capstone team conducted a needs assessment of opioid abuse prevention and treatment services in the Bronx, on behalf of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City and the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. Using information and perspectives gathered through a series of qualitative interviews and Bronx-specific quantitative data, this report identified factors contributing to the crisis related to treatment access, the continuum of care, and prevention strategies.

The Capstone team interviewed stakeholders from the Operation HEAT (Heroin Enforcement/Attainment of Treatment) working group, including: treatment providers, law enforcement, medical professionals, and community organizations. Additionally, they conducted interviews with stakeholders beyond HEAT, including: justice system organizations/legal services providers, policy and academic researchers, people in recovery, public safety officials, and service providers. These qualitative insights were supplemented by Bronx-level quantitative data on treatment, service utilization, and overdoses. In addition, the Capstone team conducted a literature review to further explore the body of research related to treatment access, the continuum of care, and prevention strategies. The report provided recommendations for strategies to improve access to opioid use disorder treatment, initiatives that can support individuals through their recovery and beyond, as well as strategies to improve and expand existing prevention efforts.