White Plains Hospital led an event to shed light on the opioid crisis in the U.S., which involves illegal use of the drugs as well as over-prescription by medical practitioners. The panel discussion took place in the auditorium of White Plains High School and brought together leaders in government, behavioral health and law enforcement.
Westchester County Commissioner of Health Sherlita Amler reported on a dramatic increase in opioid-related deaths in the county. In an 8-year span, opioid-related deaths almost quadrupled, rising from 27 in 2010 to 124 in 2016.
Christina Spano, a detective with the White Plains police department, reported that 2018 has already seen six opioid-related deaths in that city.
Richard Ellsasser, director of psychiatry at White Plains Hospital, said that 215 million prescriptions for opioids are written in the U.S. every year. He said that only about 40 percent of patients actually finish the medications, leaving a lot of drugs available for misuse.