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New York State Public Media to Examine the Addiction and Overdose Crisis

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New York’s “Overdose Epidemic” Combines Original Content, Multi-Platform Resources, a Statewide Town Hall, and a Year of Special Programming

Opioids Overdose Fatalities Up 68% Since 2019

WMHT Public Media, a PBS and NPR member station, announced today that the week of February 13th will launch a special collaborative effort to examine New York State’s addiction and overdose crisis. “Overdose Epidemic” programming will draw attention to this public health emergency 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. With funding from the New York State Education Department, WMHT is combining efforts with all New York public media stations to focus content that will benefit New Yorkers across the state.

WMHT 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.

NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports Commissioner, Dr. Chinazo Cunningham said, “We continue to experience the worst overdose epidemic in the history of our state and nation. Educating the public is essential to helping end stigma; ensure that people know how to access help; and to promoting the effectiveness of prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery services. We appreciate public media’s interest in highlighting this important issue and know that this collaboration will help us to raise awareness and save more lives.”

“We hope that by examining this epidemic and highlighting how and where help is available, that we can help save lives,” said President & CEO Anthony V. Hayes of WMHT.

“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.

The special week of content begins on Monday, February 13th at 10pm with the premiere broadcast of the Independent Lens national PBS documentary, Love in the Time of Fentanyl. The film, directed by Colin Askey, is about how a supervised drug consumption site gives hope to a marginalized community ravaged by the overdose crisis.

WMHT’s weekly news and public affairs program New York NOW will highlight NARCAN training efforts in the Capital Region during the Friday February, 17th 7:30pm episode.

The week of special programming will continue with a one-hour live broadcast, New York State Public Media Special Report: COVID-19 and the Overdose Epidemic, which will feature stories from across the state of New Yorkers in recovery, experts on addiction and the COVID-19 epidemic, government officials addressing the crisis, and local agencies providing services and support to those affected by the crisis. This broadcast is being produced by WXXI in Rochester and will be carried on all nine public television stations throughout the state. WMHT will present the program on Friday, February 17th at 9pm.

On Sunday, February 19th at 11am, WMHT will air a special episode of Connect NY, focused on the state’s Overdose Epidemic. Connect NY is produced by WCNY in Syracuse, NY.

Ahead of the “Overdose Epidemic” programming during the week of February 13th, WMHT is co-hosting a free screening of Love in the Time of Fentanyl on Saturday, February 4th at 3pm at the Albany Barn, 56 2nd Street, Albany, NY.

“Overdose Epidemic” programming will continue to be produced and aired throughout 2023 and available to stream at For more information, visit:


About WMHT

WMHT is the only locally owned, nonprofit, multichannel public communications organization that reaches beyond the traditional broadcasting model to act as a leader by convening arts, culture, learning and civic interests. WMHT, a PBS and NPR member station, focuses on Community, Culture and Connections by providing entertainment, enrichment and engagement through television, radio, digital media, and educational services. Services include WMHT-DT (17.1), WMHT-Create (17.2), WMHT-World (17.3), WMHT PBS Kids (17.4), WMHT-FM 89.1 & WRHV-FM 88.7 (classical public radio); and WEXT Radio 97.7/106.1 (AAA public radio). WMHT also operates RISE, a radio reading service for the blind and print disabled.

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Support (OASAS) oversees one of the nation’s largest addiction services systems with approximately 1,600 prevention, treatment and recovery programs. OASAS chemical dependency treatment programs have an average daily enrollment of nearly 100,000 people and serve approximately 234,000 individuals every year.

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction can visit to learn more and find treatment or Call the 24/7 HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY or Text HOPENY (467369).