Staten Island has a drug problem. Opioid overdose deaths in the New York City borough are 170 percent higher than the national average. While fentanyl is responsible for the majority of deaths, it’s not the only substance to blame. Overprescribing opioids has contributed to the crisis, as well as the fact that addiction service providers have been spread too thin.
Joseph Conte knows about these issues all too well. He’s the executive director of the Staten Island Performing Provider System, a clinical and social service health-care network, and he leads the island’s efforts to address the crisis. Conte told The Daily Beast that the country’s public officials have only recently started putting their money where their mouths are.