In what resembled a New Orleans funeral procession, one hundred advocates marched through Manhattan on Thursday to mourn the death of people who lost their lives to drugs, and to raise awareness of the need for more support for Overdose Prevention.

Co-executive director of Vocal New York, Jeremy Saunders, said that there were more deaths due to the drug overdose in our country, state, and city than ever before in American history.

Mourning the loss of loved ones

The marchers wore black veils and armbands as jazz musicians played and people mourned the loss of family members and friends.

From the Harm Reduction Coalition office on West 27th Street to Bellevue Hospital city morgue marchers held signs with pictures along the route of victims that had died of drug overdoses.

In the march, they were heard yelling "Not one more!" referring to the more than three-thousand people who had died of overdoses in New York State, in 2016 alone.

50% hike in drug overdose deaths

The New York Police Department (NYPD) reported, this year alone, there has been a fifty-percent increase in drug related deaths in the New York. Drug use and related overdose deaths has been a public health crisis around the country.

In New York City, advocates are worried the city has reached epidemic proportion -- destroying communities and families.

According to Chuck Wexler, Police Executive Research Forum, American's are using drugs and overdosing at three times the rate they were during the crack cocaine epidemic.

Growing problem from opioids and synthetic drugs

Gathering to discuss the nations illegal drug problem, officials from the education, health and law enforcement sectors considered possible solutions to the ever growing problem of opioids and synthetic drugs.

NYPD chief of crime strategies, Dermot Shea, said many pregnant women are overdosing these days than ever before.

She went on to report that of the couples that overdose, one is saved, and then police have to go back to the same apartment an hour later for the other one.

Reports from officials nationwide show that thirty-three thousand people died from a Drug overdose last year. In New York alone there were more than thirteen hundred drug related deaths reported.

Raising cost of prescription painkillers

Statistics show that most people who overdose first become addicted to prescription painkillers. Because of the rising cost of these prescription drugs people often turn to the more accessible and much less expensive heroin. Dealers are now putting fentanyl in their heroin causing an even greater threat to the drug user.

Today, victims of this nationwide epidemic range in age from thirteen to one-hundred years old.

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