People watching television

TV Special - Addiction: The Next Step

Program Highlights Ongoing Efforts To Address the Impact of Opioids and the Overdose Epidemic on New Yorkers
TV Special - Addiction: The Next Step

Focus on Three Important Areas

A 30-minute special TV presentation of the OASAS podcast “Addiction: The Next Step” aired on stations across the state in May 2024. 

The special highlights the impact the opioid and overdose epidemic has had in New York State and the steps OASAS is taking to address this crisis. It features real stories of several New Yorkers, including 19-year-old Paige Gibbons who died after overdosing on a counterfeit pill that contained fentanyl without her knowledge. It also includes personal stories of other New Yorkers who have benefitted from OASAS services, and information about how to access scholarships for those interested in a career in addiction services.

The program also features insight from OASAS Commissioner Dr. Chinazo Cunningham about each of the segments, and how they relate to the work of OASAS.

“New Yorkers in every community across the state are being impacted by the opioid and overdose crisis. At OASAS, we continue to focus on addressing this issue through new education and prevention efforts, as well as expanding and enhancing services throughout the state,” OASAS Commissioner Dr. Chinazo Cunningham said. “This new special program is an opportunity for us to continue to educate the public about the risk of illicit substances and where they can get help for addiction, as well as highlight some of the personal stories of New Yorkers and their families who have felt the effects of this crisis.”

The special broadcast presentations of “Addiction: The Next Step” was part of an ongoing OASAS fentanyl awareness campaign, and also coincided with SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week. This nationwide observance is dedicated to the prevention of substance use and the promotion of positive mental health.

The video segments linked below can be used in their entirety for training and educational purposes. Questions about using the videos can be directed to [email protected].

Education on the Risks of Fentanyl

Rochester-area teenager Paige Gibbons was 19 years old when she died of an accidental overdose, after taking a counterfeit pill that contained fentanyl without her knowledge. This program features Paige’s parents, who say they want her story to increase awareness, reduce stigma, and prevent more tragedies.

As part of this segment, Commissioner Cunningham speaks to recent research that shows there are fewer instances of substance use disorder among teens, but rising rates of overdoses, indicating that Paige’s story is not unique, and underscoring the risks of illicit fentanyl, which is often added to substances without the knowledge of the person taking it.

Review a CDC Report on Teen Drug Overdose Deaths. 

VIDEO: Paige Gibbons story

Addressing Stigma

This segment, entitled “Routine for Recovery” highlights the work of Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) providers, and the stories of clients who have received lifesaving services at these facilities.

The goal is to explain the work that these providers do and emphasize that medication for addiction treatment is a safe, effective, and proven way to save lives and support the long-term health of those impacted by addiction. 

As the Commissioner highlights in this segment, this is part of the ongoing work by OASAS to address the stigma surrounding addiction services, which keeps many people from seeking the help they need and prevents the expansion of these services in many areas.

Video: Routine for recovery


To support the addiction services workforce, last year OASAS announced the establishment of a new scholarship program through the New York State Opioid Settlement Fund. This initiative helps students pursue various certifications, or a bachelor’s degree at three different colleges in New York State to either enter the addiction services workforce, or advance in their careers. This segment features interviews with scholarship recipients, a professor overseeing the addiction services program at Empire State University, and Commissioner Cunningham.

As the Commissioner highlights in this segment, growing and supporting the addiction services workforce is something that is brought up in meetings throughout the state. Workforce matters were discussed often during the Commissioner's recently concluded Listening Tour, which covered eight locations statewide. The scholarship program is the latest in a series of efforts related to workforce development, which includes cost of living increases over each of the last three years, loan forgiveness programs, training, and funding to providers to support workforce retention and development.

VIDEO: Scholarship Program

Watch The TV Special

You can watch the TV special on our YouTube channel below. 

Alternative Text
Alternative Text
Watch the TV special of "Addiction: The Next Step"