N.Y. (NEWS10) — According to an analysis by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, drug overdose fatalities surged during the pandemic. Opioid-related deaths rose by 68 percent from 2019 to 2021, and overdose deaths for 2021 totaled 5,841.

“Too many New Yorkers have died from the misuse of drugs, but the jump in these numbers is alarming,” said DiNapoli. “It is a tragedy that devastates families and impacts our communities in countless ways. The data shows our battle against drug overdose deaths is far from over. State leaders must ensure an ongoing commitment of public resources and strategies, including new funding from legal settlements, and innovative, evidence-based solutions for the fight against this deadly epidemic to be effective.”

Data from the report shows a significant increase in deaths resulting from the use of synthetic opioids. Due to its potency, fentanyl is mixed with other drugs, making drugs cheaper, more addictive, and more dangerous.

Numbers in the report also show that there has been a rise in mental illness, particularly among young adults, which has contributed to substance use disorder and drug overdose deaths. In 2020, around 3.3 million people in the U.S. experienced serious mental illness. The majority of these individuals did not receive treatment.

To address the opioid epidemic, the State Office of Addiction Services and Supports increased its opioid-related spending, with current-year spending projected to exceed $500 million. The OASAS also has the plan to expand access to medication-assisted treatment, provide overdose reversal training, and use federal funds to implement treatment innovations in high-need counties.