New York’s Opioid Crisis

October 12, 2018

Public broadcasting stations across New York State, including WLIW21, will air special programing examining the opioid crisis during the week of October 15. “New York’s Opioid Crisis” is a first of its kind partnership to draw attention to this public health crisis and raise awareness of services available in local communities for those impacted by opioid addiction. Opioids includes drugs that are prescribed by doctors for pain relief and illegal street drugs such as heroin.

If you or someone you love is having a problem with opioid addiction, know you are not alone. For resources on where to find help please visit us at

This special programming on the opioid crisis was made possible by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. Their website is Call 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369).

Throughout the week of October 15, coverage on WLIW21 will touch on topics as wide-ranging as the science of addiction, reducing the stigma of addiction and recovery, opioids and the arts, opioid addiction among veterans, and what public health officials are doing to combat the problem. Learn the relationship between natural opioids (like opium) and semi-synthetic ones like heroin; why fentanyl is making heroin more dangerous; the issue of over-prescribing pain relief drugs for moderately painful conditions; and more.


Weeknights at 5, 7 and 10 p.m.

(l to r) Rafael Pi Roman, Jenna Flanagan and Jack Ford are hosts of MetroFocus.

Every night, MetroFocus will feature those working to end the epidemic and who have recovered from addiction. See how the nonprofit and expert coffee roaster Coffee Connection in Rochester, New York, is helping hundreds of women in addiction recovery gain job skills and employment. Expert guests working at the government level will includeArlene Gonzales-Sanchez, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, James Hunt, New York State’s leading DEA agent, and Kristyna S. Mills, District Attorney. Stories, reports and more related to heroin and legal opioids like pain medications will run nightly from October 15 through October 19.

NOVA: Addiction

Thursday, October 18 at 9 p.m.

Easy access to drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and even prescription medications like OxyContin has fueled an epidemic. Learn how opioid addiction affects the brain and how evidence-based treatments are saving lives. Hear firsthand from individuals struggling with addiction and follow the cutting-edge work of doctors and scientists as they investigate why addiction is not a moral failing, but a chronic, treatable medical condition.

Stream Now

MetroFocus: Long Island Addicted

The opioid epidemic is exploding on Long Island with overdoses claiming a record number of lives in the area. The startling statistics in this community are contributing to a nationwide crisis. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran provides details on the problem and the fight to end addiction on Long Island.

Long Island Business Report: Opioid Crisis

Watch this May 2018 episode now.
Re-airs October 17 at 7:30 p.m., October 19 at 5:30 p.m. and October 21 at 10 a.m.
In 2017, statistics show that the opioid crisis claimed the lives of at least 600 Long Islanders and the numbers continue to rise. Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, President and CEO of Family and Children’s Association and Krystle Stoddard, Peer Support Specialist and Recovery Coach, discuss the challenges created by the opioid crisis on Long Island.

MetroFocus: Heroin Killing Suburban Teens

Since 1999, deaths caused by drug overdoses have multiplied five-times among young, white Americans. The New York Times investigative reporter Sarah Cohen joins us with a look at the data she’s been collecting, and explains the importance of geography in determining who is dying from the disease.

MetroFocus: Prosecutor Turned Heroin Addict

In his book, Sheer Madness: From Federal Prosecutor to Federal Prisoner, Andrew McKenna details his own struggles with heroin and how he went from convicting criminals to living alongside them.

FRONTLINE: Chasing Heroin

Stream the full episode.
A searing, two-hour investigation tells the stories of individual addicts, but also illuminates the heroin epidemic’s years-in-the-making social context, deeply examining shifts in U.S. drug policy, and exploring what happens when addiction is treated like a public health issue, not a crime. The documentary debuted in February 2016.