More New Yorkers inject drugs (mostly heroin) into their veins than in any other city in the nation -- an estimated 200,000. This map shows where they probably live throughout the five boroughs. (What it actually shows is the number of people who have been treated in hospitals in these areas for heroin-related illnesses or accidents; it is assumed that such patients will live near the hospital where they were admitted.)

The map also shows the location of needle exchange programs, which reach only 30,000 of these drug users each year, and the "cachment areas," or the neighborhoods where the users come from who exchange their dirty needles for clean ones.

"It's interesting to see that there are areas of high need that have no needle exchange programs, such as in Staten Island," says Linda Weiss, a researcher for the Office of Special Populations of the New York Academy of Medicine, which commissioned this map as part of their study, "Towards a Comprehensive Plan for Syringe Exchange in New York City."

"HIV is now spread more often by drug use than anything else," Weiss says. "So, having clean needles available is very important in preventing the spread of HIV."


Check out the Feature Archives!