Addiction support: New York launches new campaign focusing on social connections

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FILE – In this Aug. 29, 2018, file photo, oxycodone pills are displayed in New York. Newly released federal data shows how drugmakers and distributors increased shipments of opioid painkillers across the U.S. as the nation’s addiction crisis accelerated from 2006 to 2012. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — A new statewide campaign is highlighting the importance of social support in the fight against addiction.

On Tuesday, the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports launched its new campaign titled “Connections.” According to OASAS, this campaign aims to empower individuals impacted by addictions to use their connections with friends, family members, health professionals and others, to help gain support in both treatment and recovery.

Campaign content will run on social media and streaming audio. Additionally, PSA’s will be added to billboards and public transportation services.

New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul commented on how this campaign is timely following increased isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This extraordinarily difficult past year has taught us the importance of staying in touch with loved ones, friends and neighbors,” said Hochul. “The new ‘Connections’ campaign not only helps get the word out on lifesaving resources and services for New Yorkers who are battling addiction and substance use disorder, but is also a reminder that help is available to find a better and satisfying life.”

OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez added: “while the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult in so many ways, it undoubtedly had a profound impact on how we interacted with our normal social support systems thereby creating debilitating isolation and disconnection from much needed resources and the people we love and associate with. With this campaign, we want to encourage New Yorkers to uplift themselves and reclaim the power lost during this difficult time, and also to remind them that help is available to achieve a healthy life in sustained recovery from addiction.”

The Office added that the “Connections” campaign will also raise awareness on the risks of overdoses due to the presence of fentanyl. This lethal opioid has been found in many illicit substances such as heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy, and can result in overdoses and fatalities.

This campaign is partially funded from the federal State Opioid Response grant. The “Connections” campaign will run through the end of August 2021 across New York State.

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by:

  • Calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369)
  • By texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).

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