Opioid-related deaths down in Westchester, Orange

Posted: Updated:
YONKERS -

Thursday marked International Overdose Awareness Day.

While new data shows opioid-related deaths are down in some New York communities, it's still very much a national crisis.

According to the New York Department of Health, 1,000 people died from heroin overdoses last year. In Westchester, opioid-related deaths dropped from 83 to 59 between 2015 and 2016. In Orange County, the number dropped from 69 to 55.

Experts attribute the decline to the drug antidote known as Narcan.

News 12 spoke to Justine Benecio, who says she is on the road to recovery after multiple overdoses. Benecio started using marijuana and alcohol when she was 15 years old. By 18, her drug problem escalated into a heroin and fentanyl addiction. She was homeless and using with her ex-boyfriend, who later died from an overdose.

Fearing death herself, she now receives treatment at Innovative Health Systems in White Plains.

“Maintaining sobriety, keeping yourself in check every day, placing boundaries...I have to face this battle for the rest of my life,” she says.

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