The State of New York has been hit especially hard by the prescription drug epidemic in America. Attempts by the state to push back against the crisis have only led to a surge of heroin use, which has proven even harder to combat than the prescription drugs. All across the state people are using heroin; the drug has found its way into the suburbs and the rural areas of the state. Now the state is resorting to public service announcements (PSAs) which will be shown in movie theaters all over the state, the fix reports.
The PSAs feature recovering heroin addicts telling how the drug affected their lives and the lives of those in their life. The announcements will only be shown before select PG-13 and R-rated movies. Governor Cuomo said that the goal of the PSAs is to “push back” against heroin and prescription drug use.
In New York City, arguably the epicenter of the heroin scourge, deaths resulting from heroin use have more than doubled since 2010, according to the article. Since 2013, more people have died from heroin overdoses in New York City than any other year, with 420 out of 782 fatal overdoses. Hospitals around the state have seen a dramatic rise in emergency room visits related to heroin. Last year, 23 percent of people admitted to treatment centers were there for heroin and prescription opioid use, up form 5 percent in 2000.
“By taking away opiate pain pills, we are not necessarily reducing the demand for them,” said Dr. Bruce Masalak an addiction specialist at St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam. “Heroin is an attractive substitute to feed that addiction.”
Many addicts turn to heroin because it is less expensive and stronger than most opioid pills. In the Albany area, a bag of heroin costs $10, half of what it was a few years ago.