NEW YORK STATE (December 27, 2014) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the next phase of New York’s #CombatHeroin campaign, which has reached more than 14 million people through social media so far. To reach an even broader audience, starting December 19, public service announcements will begin airing in movie theaters across New York State. Additionally, ten new “Real Story” videos have been posted to the state’s Combat Heroin website, www.combatheroin.ny.gov. The PSAs and new videos show New Yorkers sharing their stories of recovery and describe the dire consequences of addiction for individuals and families. The PSAs will be shown in movie theaters before select movies rated PG-13 or R from mid-December through early January, peak movie-going season.
“The Combat Heroin campaign is raising awareness and saving lives from the epidemic of drug abuse, and today we’re launching the next phase to continue making New Yorkers safe,” Governor Cuomo said. “By using the stories of real New Yorkers who have struggled with heroin and other drugs, this campaign reminds us that addiction can happen to any family, and that we can all play a role in someone’s recovery. Together we can push back against heroin and prescription drug abuse, and I encourage anyone needing assistance in this fight to reach out today.”
The Combat Heroin website now has 22 videos of New Yorkers describing first-hand how they or their loved ones progressed to addiction to heroin or prescription opioids and the devastation the addiction caused. The 10 new videos added to the website feature New Yorkers telling their personal stories of struggle and loss as well as their individual paths to recovery. The PSAs and videos underscore the message that while addiction can happen to anyone, any family, at any time – recovery is possible. View the PSAs and new videos at this link: http://combatheroin.ny.gov/real-stories.
New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, “I encourage all New Yorkers to point to these videos as you discuss the risks of addiction with your family and loved ones. I can’t think of a better way to share the serious risks of addiction than to watch these first-hand accounts. I hope they inspire individuals, families, and communities to take advantage of the support that is available through addiction treatment providers across the state and the resources available on the Combat Heroin website.”
This is the second phase of the Governor’s Combat Heroin campaign, launched in September, to inform and educate New Yorkers about the risks of heroin and prescription opioid use, the warning signs of addiction, and the resources available to help. New Yorkers can access prevention, treatment and recovery information on the #CombatHeroin website or by calling the state’s HOPEline at 1-877-846-7369. Treatment providers across the state can be found on the OASAS website at: http://www.oasas.ny.gov/accesshelp/.
Naloxone anti-opioid overdose trainings are also continuing across the state for local community members and law enforcement. Through the combined efforts the State OASAS, the Department of Health, and the Division of Criminal Justice Services, approximately 37,000 people have been trained and more than 1,100 lives have been saved.
Heroin and opioid abuse have become an alarming problem in communities across New York State and the nation. In 2013, there were 91,000 admissions for heroin and prescription opioid abuse treatment in New York State, an increase from five years ago in 2009 when admissions totaled 76,000. During this time period, New Yorkers ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 had the largest increases in such admissions. Nationally, 335,000 a million people were reportedly abusing heroin or suffering from heroin dependence in 2012.
The Combat Heroin website has had 240,000 page views since the campaign’s start. Followers of the NYS OASAS Facebook page have nearly quadrupled. The campaign PSAs aired for four weeks on network channels and cable channels throughout the state in September and October. More than 150,000 Combat Heroin informational flyers have been requested through the website. These materials are available in English, Spanish and Russian and can be ordered here.
More information about the Department of Health’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Program is available here.
To sign up for naloxone training at one of the OASAS Addiction Treatment Centers, visit the OASAS website here.