ALBANY - How bad has the drug crisis gotten in New York?
The state is now encouraging its residents to carry naloxone, the medication that reverses opioid overdoses, in a new public-awareness campaign.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration launched the campaign Tuesday highlighting the dangers of fentanyl, a potent opioid that can be laced in heroin, cocaine and other drugs.
As part of the campaign, the state is encouraging residents to carry a naloxone kit, which is now carried over-the-counter at more than 2,000 pharmacies across the state, according to the Department of Health.
The advertisements will be placed on social media websites, in the New York City subway system, in shopping malls and laundromats, among other places.
"Carry Naloxone to reverse an overdose and save a life," an advertisement for the campaign reads. "If you see an overdose, call 911."
Overdose deaths from opioids were up 35 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the state.
But the state said fentanyl-related deaths increased by 160 percent statewide over the same time period, fueled in part by a 310 percent increase in New York City.
The new advertising campaign focuses specifically on fentanyl, warning that cocaine and heroin with lethal doses of fentanyl -- sometimes as small as two grains of sand -- have been popping up in communities across the state.
The advertisements direct people to the state's addiction website -- CombatAddiction.ny.gov -- and hotline, 1-877-8-HOPENY (or 1-877-846-7369).
"Fentanyl abuse is feeding this nation's devastating opioid epidemic that destroys lives and families, and we are taking aggressive action to get these deadly drugs off our streets and protect communities across New York," Cuomo said in a statement.
The state also has a program that covers up to $40 in co-pay for naloxone.
For more information, visit the state Department of Health's website.
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