Newsday: LI saw record number of opiate deaths in 2015

In 2015, 442 people died from opiate overdoses on Long Island, compared with 403 in 2014, according to Newsday.

In 2015, 442 people died from opiate overdoses on Long Island, compared with 403 in 2014, according to Newsday. (4/25/16)

FRANKLIN SQUARE - A new report says a record number of people on Long Island died from overdosing on heroin and other opiates in 2015.

A total of 442 people died of such overdoses last year, according to data compiled by county medical examiner's offices and analyzed by Newsday. It amounts to more than one person a day on average, and it represents a nearly 10 percent increase from 2014.

It comes as the opiate-antidote drug Narcan is being used more widely to save people from overdoses, but anti-drug advocates say more care needs to be given to addicts, particularly those who are revived.

Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds of the Family and Children's Association is among some who are pushing for new legislation that would allow hospitals to keep patients on a 72-hour hold after they are revived with Narcan. Currently, patients can refuse further treatment.

"If you've been brought back from the dead, revived with Narcan, thrown headlong into withdrawal, you're a potential danger to yourself or others," Reynolds says. "Your thinking is not clear. Your family's been thrown into a spin, you need some time to figure out your next step."

If passed, the legislation would require health insurance companies to pay for the mandatory 72-hour hold.

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