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Overdose Epidemic

Buffalo Toronto Public Media is raising awareness of the opioid epidemic through special reports and programs.

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Opioids Overdose Fatalities Up 68% Since 2019 

 

In February 2023 Buffalo Toronto Public Media kicked off a special collaborative effort to examine New York State’s addiction and overdose crisis Overdose Epidemic programming will draw attention to this public health crisis and raise awareness of services available in local communities for those impacted by addiction. 

Public media is renowned for its thoughtful and thorough approach to public affairs and social issues, and Overdose Epidemic will touch on topics as wide-ranging as the science of addiction, reducing the stigma of addiction and recovery, addiction among veterans and young people, and what public health officials are doing to combat the crisis. 

Buffalo Toronto Public Media has developed this effort in a collaboration with the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Support (OASAS), relying on their scientific and treatment expertise.  OASAS is providing dynamic tools for New Yorkers to connect with local recovery resources in their community. 

Overdose Epidemic brings together public media across the state to focus on a single issue across multiple platforms—broadcast television, radio, podcasts, online streaming, social media, live events, and more. 

Overdose Epidemic programming will continue to be produced and aired throughout 2023 and 2024 and available to stream. 

Buffalo Toronto Public Media joins with public media partners across New York State to examine the addiction and overdose crisis.

You've heard the statistics. They may even come close to home as many across New York State struggle with an addiction to painkillers, heroin, or other opioids. From schools to jails to government chambers the crisis is having a social and economic impact in our communities. WNED PBS and PBS stations across New York state are partnering for a series of programs exploring New York's Opioid Epidemic.

WBFO NEWS

WNED PBS SPECIAL PROGRAMMING - JANUARY 2024

Independent Lens

Love in the Time of Fentanyl | Preview

A supervised drug injection site gives hope to a community ravaged by fentanyl deaths. Watch Friday, January 12 at 9pm on WNED PBS.

Overdosed | Preview

Overdosed highlights the troubling turmoil of the deadly American opioid crisis as it unfolds in the small town of Petersburg in rural West Virginia, the state hardest hit by this epidemic. Through interviews with former drug dealers, over-prescribing doctors, DEA agents and local community members, Mary Sue Connolly uncovers a shocking narrative of the pharmaceutical industry?s intentional plan to target opioid sales to an impoverished, under-served community and the resulting addiction, prison and overdose cycles of its citizens. Overdosed provides viewers access to the corporate, profit-driven dark side of this crisis, while revealing the core humanity of its survivors. The documentary exposes key elements about the rapid progress of this deadly epidemic and the ways communities are now coping with its destruction. Watch Friday, January 19 at 9pm.

Appalachia Heart | Preview

Appalachia Heart travels with visual artist Charmaine Wheatley on a year-long project to paint portraits of people affected by the opioid crisis in two rural Eastern Kentucky communities, connecting us with our common humanity. Appalachian communities continue to experience more than double the national average for opioid addiction and overdose deaths. The fight for recovery in these communities is directly tied to addressing the stigma which becomes a huge obstacle addicts face in recovery. Watch Friday, January 19 at 10:30pm on WNED PBS.

Life After You | Preview

Life After You” is a narrative feature film centered around a suburban family's struggle with the death of their 19 year-old son, following an overdose of heroin that was laced with fentanyl. The film, which explores the question of who and what is responsible for this tragedy, is inspired by the book, “Life After You: What Your Death From Drugs Leaves Behind” by Linda Lajterman. The film aims to spark a much-needed dialogue among parents, teenagers, and officials who are in a position to address the heroin epidemic.  Watch Friday, January 26 at 9pm.

Opioids and First Responders: Answering the Call | Preview

A half-hour documentary that looks at the rescue workers who fight every day on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic. The program features three teams of firefighters and paramedics and follows along on several emergency calls as they respond to overdose cases, revealing the draining struggle of fighting the pervasive and deadly drug. Interviews with the emergency responders also detail the emotional and physical impacts of trying to save people struggling with addiction day in and day out. Watch Friday, January 26 at 10:32pm on WNED PBS.

COMMUNITY DISCUSSION GUIDE

RESOURCES

Community Partner Websites

Evergreen Health
716-847-2441
https://www.evergreenhs.org/ 

Evergreen Health provides a safe space for people who use drugs to get the services and support they need. Services through Evergreen Health include a syringe exchange program, counseling, support groups, medication-assisted treatment, and a walk-in harm reduction program. 

 

Pride Center of WNY
716-852-7743
http://www.pridecenterwny.org/ 

The Pride Center of Western New York, an affiliate of Evergreen Health, is a health promotion organization specializing in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) health that provides services throughout the eight counties of Western New York. The Pride Center provides the latest information on health issues affecting LGBTQ people and offers a range of services including substance use disorder support. 

 

WNY Mobile Ops
716-256-5221
https://www.wnymobileops.com/ 

Western New York Mobile Overdose Prevention Services (WNY Mobile OPS) is a recovery program focused on harm reduction designated to address the opioid overdose epidemic in Western New York. A minority-owned, women-owned nonprofit, WNY Mobile OPS ensures Narcan kits are accessible in every neighborhood across the region. 

 

Horizon Health Services
716-831-1800
https://www.horizon-health.org/ 

Horizon Health Services, INC. is a nonprofit that provides support and healing for individuals and their families dealing with substance use and/or mental health disorders and is the largest provider of outpatient mental health substance use treatment in Western New York. 

 

Save the Michaels
716-984-8375
https://www.savethemichaels.org/ 

Save the Michaels raises awareness of drug addiction and supports families during their loved one’s journey through remission. Support is provided to parents, grandparents, and spouses of individuals living with substance use disorders. Save the Michaels offers wrap-around care before, during, and after treatment. 

 

Seneca Native Connections
716-945-9001
https://senecanativeconnections.org/ 

Seneca Native Connections works to reduce substance use and suicide risk among the Seneca Nation youth and families through the creation of culturally relevant programming and community resources. 

 

Native American Community Services
716-874-4460
http://www.nacswny.org/ 

Native American Community Services (NACS) is a nonprofit that provides health and social services to Native American populations in Erie and Niagara Counties. NACS has developed innovative and evidence-based approaches to support services, including culturally-based approaches to alcohol and substance abuse prevention programs. 

 

PreventionFocus, Inc.
716-884-3256
https://www.preventionfocus.org/ 

PreventionFocus is a prevention service that works with children, teens, and adults to develop the skills and strategies to stop substance abuse issues before they start. 

 

Crisis Services
716-834-3131
https://crisisservices.org/

Crisis Services serves as Erie County’s only 24-hour crisis center and community resource for those in need of safety or help. What began as Suicide Prevention and Crisis Services, Inc., grew into a multi-disciplinary, comprehensive crisis response center. A full list of hotlines can be found here: https://crisisservices.org/hotlines/ 

24-Hour Crisis Hotline     716-834-3131

Buffalo & Erie County Addiction Hotline  716-831-7007

Chautauqua County Hotline         1-800-724-0461

 

Spectrum Health and Human Services
716-539-5500
https://shswny.org/

Spectrum Health is a behavioral health and substance abuse disorder counseling leader in WNY. The Medication Assisted Treatment team is active in the community providing Narcan training and education. Spectrum Health offers substance abuse disorder and behavioral health counseling and resources. 

New York State Support Services

Office of Addiction Services and Supports 
https://oasas.ny.gov/

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) oversees one of the nation’s largest substance use disorder systems of care with prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery programs. 

 

Opioid Overdose Prevention Resources for School Settings
https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/aids/general/opioid_overdose_prevention/schools.htm 

The NYS Education Department, the New York State Center for School Health, and the NYS Department of Health encourage schools to implement an opioid overdose prevention program and develop policies and guidelines using the resources provided on their webpage. Resources detailed on this page include webinars, toolkits, and opioid training skills. 

 

2023 Community Calendar of Opioid Overdose Trainings

https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/aids/general/opioid_overdose_prevention/training_calendar.htm 

Many NYSDOH-registered opioid overdose prevention programs deliver community trainings throughout New York State. Community members can expect to learn signs and symptoms of an overdose and steps to respond and administer naloxone. All community members are welcome to join these trainings, regardless of knowledge/understanding about opioid overdose. The link above provides statewide information on community training opportunities. 

 

County Support Services

Erie County 

 

Erie County Department of Health
716-858-7690

Information on Opioids and Other Substances 
https://www3.erie.gov/health/opioids-other-substances 

 

Opioid Epidemic Task Force 
https://www3.erie.gov/health/opiate-epidemic-task-force 

The Opiate Epidemic Task Force was created to provide a framework for organizations and individuals to collaborate, develop and share best practices through the timely sharing of information to assist individuals and their families in addiction. Further information and resources are detailed on the task force webpage above.

 

Trainings, Presentations, & Resources 
https://www3.erie.gov/health/trainings-presentations-publications-resources 

This link includes information and links to upcoming virtual trainings. 

 

Naloxone/Narcan 
https://www3.erie.gov/health/naloxonenarcan 

More information and access to Naloxone, Narcan, and other supplies can be found using the link above. 

 

Treatment and Recovery Resources 
https://www3.erie.gov/health/substance-use-treatment-recovery 

If you or someone you love may be addicted, you can find more information on treatment and recovery using the link above. 

 

Niagara County Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse 
716-285- 3515
https://www.niagaracounty.com/departments/m-r/mental_health___substance_abuse/index.php 

Information on services provided and resources in Niagara County can be found using the link above. 

Niagara County

 

Niagara County Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse 
716-285- 3515
https://www.niagaracounty.com/departments/m-r/mental_health___substance_abuse/index.php 

Information on services provided and resources in Niagara County can be found using the link above. 

 

Chautauqua County

 

Chautauqua County Chemical Dependency Resources
https://chqgov.com/sites/default/files/inline-files/Chautauqua%20County%20Chemical%20Dependency%20Resources%20200121.pdf 

A comprehensive list of helplines, health clinics and local agencies in Chautauqua County can be found using the link above. 

Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene
https://chqgov.com/mental-hygiene/chautauqua-substance-abuse-response-partnership 

The purpose of the Mental Hygiene Department is to plan, develop, and provide accessible, integrated, outcome-based services to residents of Chautauqua County. The Substance Abuse Response Partnership through this office offers information and resources on local assistance. https://chqgov.com/mental-hygiene/chautauqua-substance-abuse-response-partnership 

Chautauqua Substance Abuse Response Partnership
https://combataddictionchq.com/ 

The Chautauqua Substance Abuse Response Partnership is a multi-agency partnership of prevention, treatment, and recovery providers led by the office of Mental Hygiene. This website offers tools and resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery in Chautauqua County.

Orleans County

The Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
https://gcasa.net/ 

The Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse offers prevention programs, treatment services, and residential care. A full list of services and contact information can be found here https://gcasa.net/services/

Ontario, Canada

Addiction Services Central Ontario
https://helpwithaddictions.ca/ 

Addiction Services Central Ontario provides a range of addiction and mental health services for adults, youth (12+), and their families in Toronto, York Region, and Central Ontario. 

City of Toronto | Harm Reduction Program 
https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/health-wellness-care/health-programs-advice/services-provided-by-the-works/ 

Toronto Public Health provides programs and services to reduce drug-related harm for people who use drugs. This link provides contact information and detailed resources. 

Parental Addiction Resources

Sesame Street in Communities

https://sesamestreetincommunities.org/topics/parental-addiction/?activity=questions-answers 

Children may have tough questions when it comes to parental addiction, but there are age-appropriate ways to respond. Sesame Street in Communities offers age-appropriate ways to respond and resources for parents, teachers, caregivers, and other caring adults to comfort children and guide them through difficult moments.

WATCH

Opioids, Inc.

54:23
Published:

The story of a drug company that pushed opioids by bribing doctors.

Videos and coverage across PBS
1 / 18 Videos
Opioids, Inc.
FRONTLINE
Opioids, Inc.
The Science of Opioid Addiction and Treatment
NOVA
The Science of Opioid Addiction and Treatment
Schools stockpile medication to combat rise in fentanyl overdoses
PBS NewsHour
Schools stockpile medication to combat rise in fentanyl overdoses
Overdose deaths in the U.S. reached record levels in 2021
PBS NewsHour
Overdose deaths in the U.S. reached record levels in 2021
For this doctor, a son's death by overdose inspires his mission to rescue others
PBS NewsHour
For this doctor, a son's death by overdose inspires his mission to rescue others
St. Louis combats opioid crisis as overdose deaths skyrocket among Black Americans
PBS NewsHour
St. Louis combats opioid crisis as overdose deaths skyrocket among Black Americans
Why overdose deaths spiked among people of color during the pandemic
PBS NewsHour
Why overdose deaths spiked among people of color during the pandemic
How the pandemic is contributing to alarming rise in opioid overdose deaths
PBS NewsHour
How the pandemic is contributing to alarming rise in opioid overdose deaths
Report details the scale of the U.S. opioid crisis
PBS NewsHour
Report details the scale of the U.S. opioid crisis
Chasing Heroin
FRONTLINE
Chasing Heroin
Schools stockpile medication to combat rise in overdoses
PBS NewsHour
Schools stockpile medication to combat rise in overdoses
For the Love of Rutland | The Opioid Crisis In Vermont
America ReFramed
For the Love of Rutland | The Opioid Crisis In Vermont
Opioids and the Pandemic | HEADLINE
WMHT
Opioids and the Pandemic | HEADLINE
Is There an Overdose Crisis in New York? | NYNOW
WMHT
Is There an Overdose Crisis in New York? | NYNOW
Overdose
Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness
Overdose
Why overdose deaths spiked among people of color amid COVID
PBS NewsHour
Why overdose deaths spiked among people of color amid COVID
What Happens When You Overdose?
Reactions
What Happens When You Overdose?
Love in the Time of Fentanyl | Watch with WNED PBS Passport
Independent Lens
Love in the Time of Fentanyl | Watch with WNED PBS Passport

7 Days: The Opioid Crisis in Arkansas

All it takes for someone to become dependent on opioids is seven days of use. Legal prescriptions have paved the way for the addiction epidemic plaguing the United States. 7 Days is an empathic, delicate look at some of the individuals who have become the face of this national tragedy. Taking a macro perspective on the issue, the film explores how addiction is rarely a choice, but a vicious cycle that preys on the disenfranchised and underserved. 

STREAM NOW

NYS Public Media Special Report | Covid-19 and the Overdose Epidemic

Since it began in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a staggering number of fatalities and illnesses across New York State. The economic and social disruptions stemming from the pandemic have added to the devastation. While healthcare systems were overwhelmed, individuals most at risk for substance abuse and addiction were isolated and cut off from resources, and many healthcare providers were unable to provide uninterrupted care. This hour, Evan Dawson hosts a state-wide discussion with medical experts, government officials, non-profit organizations, and New York residents about how the pandemic and the response have exacerbated the ongoing overdose epidemic. We also explore what is being done to shore up the gaps in care and the ways in which the pandemic has generated more flexible and effective means of reaching those in need.

LISTEN

WBFO | Buffalo, What's Next? 

Producers' Picks: Conversations On Opioid Addiction

Instead of a typical Producers' Picks program that includes highlights of previous interviews, today our producers have picked three intense interviews on opioid addiction and treatment. Jay Moran talks with Nick Gazzoli, Senior Program Director at Horizon Village, "Karl" a 27-year old in the residential treatment program at Horizon Village, and Horizon Health's Parent and Family Support Coordinator Colleen Babcock. Today's program is in conjunction with a statewide public media overdose epidemic initiative. 

COMMUNITY EVENT

Sesame Street in Communities: Supporting Families Facing Addiction

On May 9, 2023 we presented Sesame Street in Communities: Supporting Families Facing Addiction, a free virtual event highlighting resources created by Sesame Workshop for caregivers supporting children dealing with a parent or loved one struggling with addiction. The event featured an in-depth presentation of tools and actionable strategies for families and service providers along with a panel discussion and Q&A with licensed experts.

Overdose Epidemic

Funding for The Overdose Epidemic was provided in part by the New York State Education Department.