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Prescription for Progress: United Against Opioid Addiction

April 13, 2018 04:23 PM

Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in this country. The numbers continue to climb as the opioid epidemic rages on.

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That's why NewsChannel 13 has joined with the Times Union, Albany Police, the district attorney, St. Peter's Addiction Recovery Centers, MVP Health Care, Albany City Schools, private businesses and Siena College to attack this problem. The goal is to save lives.

This partnership is now going public.

Over the coming weeks and months, we'll share details of the first statewide and local survey of opioid use, attitudes toward treatment, government action and police intervention.

This effort is called "Prescription for Progress: United Against Opioid Addiction."

"The opioid crisis has touched every corner of our community across this nation," explained George Hearst III, the Times Union publisher and CEO.

You see it in the lives ravaged by opioid abuse - those struggling to kick the habit as they serve out jail terms. Methadone clinics open daily, helping people to break the chains of their addiction. We also endure the heartbreak of too many families mourning the loss of loved ones, victims of overdose.

While parents who've lost loved ones battle with lawmakers to stiffen penalties for sellers of a deadly dose of heroin or other opioid, this battlefield is so wide-ranging, it needs committed community involvement to succeed. It has to, because the toll this epidemic is taking on our loved ones is staggering.

"Nearly six in 10 adults surveyed have been touched by the opioid crisis," explained Hearst.

That's why key players in the Capital Region have joined forces to find solutions.

"If we can do all that together, I think we can accomplish the mission -- which is to get as much information out in front of as many people as possible, with as much power as possible to perhaps convince people to either get help if they're already in trouble, or to avoid this situation if they possibly can," noted Steve Baboulis, WNYT general manager.

Because information is power, the Times Union and NewsChannel 13 are partnering in this mission to save lives.

"We will provide the context, we'll provide the organization, we'll provide resources that are going to be necessary to fight this scourge," assured Hearst.

In the weeks ahead, we'll share results of the first statewide and local survey into the impact the opioid crisis is having - government and law enforcement response, treatment availability and community attitudes. 

"As much money as has already been given to this, more is needed. We have to get to our children. We have to get to them younger. We have to get to them effectively. We have to reach them on different platforms of content and information," noted Baboulis.

"It's not going to be a short-term fix. This is a long-term problem. We didn't get here overnight," explained Hearst.

Credits

WNYT Staff

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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