Public Television to Examine the Opioid Crisis in New York State
APBS Announced “New York’s Opioid Crisis” Combining Original Content, Multi-Platform Resources, Statewide Partnerships, and Local Special Programming

APBS announced today that public broadcasting stations across New York State will air special programming examining the opioid crisis during the week of October 14, 2018. “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.

Public broadcasting is renowned for its thoughtful and thorough approach to public affairs and social issues, and “New York’s Opioid Crisis” 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.

APBS also announced that this special programming was made possible through a unique partnership with the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). “New York is holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for their contribution to the opioid crisis, and making significant investments in treatment and recovery services to help individuals struggling with addiction on the path to recovery,”said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Co-Chair of the State Heroin and Opioid Abuse Task Force. “This programming that will be aired across the state will raise awareness about the serious issue affecting our communities, and help to prevent drug abuse and ensure all New Yorkers lead healthy and safe lives.”

“New York is working tirelessly to provide comprehensive prevention, treatment and recovery services that fully support individuals and families in need,” said Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez.“This collaborative effort with public broadcasters across the State will not only increase awareness about the hardships of addiction, but will also help to expand our ability to promote the availability of the many valuable life-saving resources.”

“The opioid crisis isn’t someone else’s problem anymore,” said Christopher Goeken, Executive Director of the Association of Public Broadcasting Stations of New York (APBS). “It is a crisis that stretches from the largest metropolitan area in the country, to rural areas in the Southern Tier and the North Country, and every community in between. New York’s public broadcasting stations are thrilled to partner with Commissioner Gonzalez-Sanchez and her team at OASAS to bring this special programming to the viewing and listening public.”

“New York’s Opioid Crisis” brings together nine PBS television stations and five NPR stations in a first of its kind effort to focus on a single issue across multiple platforms ”broadcast television, radio, podcasts, online streaming, social media, and more.

Program information about public broadcasting’s “New York’s Opioid Crisis” special programming is included below.


“Addiction” - Wednesday, October 17 at 9 pm on PBS

Discover 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. Easy access to drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and even prescription medications like OxyContin has fueled an epidemic.


[varies by market, check local PBS station listing]

highlights the work being done in New York State to combat addiction and reminds viewers that addiction is a chronic disease that is treatable. The film, narrated by acclaimed television journalist Laurie Dhue, profiles multiple people in various stages of recovery, who share their stories and experiences.


“Chasing Heroin” - [varies by market, check local PBS station listing]

A searing, two-hour investigation places America’s heroin crisis in a fresh and provocative light — telling the stories of individual addicts, but also illuminating the 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.


“Opioids: Inside the Epidemic” - [varies by market, check local PBS station listing]

Just eight weeks after their son Patrick died of a heroin overdose, Mary and Joe Mullin courageously share their story in this one-hour special, Second Opinion ”Overdose: Inside the Epidemic. A panel of experts discuss the drug epidemic in the U.S., and offer solid, timely information about prevention and treatment.

In addition to these marque programs, each local PBS station will air documentaries, public affairs shows, and interviews that examine the crisis in their particular region of the state:

WNET & WLIW (and NJTV) - Metrofocus - Monday, October 15th, at 5 pm & 7 pm; NJTV at 5:30 pm; WNET at 6 pm

WPBS - "Understanding the Opioid Epidemic" Monday, October 15th, at 10:30 pm

MLPBS - Mountain Lake Journal - Friday October 19th, at 8 am, Saturday, October 20th, at 7 pm and Sunday, October 21st, at 10 am

WXXI - Need to Know, October 18th, at 9 pm

WMHT - October 18th, time TBD

The Association of Public Broadcasting Stations of New York (APBS) represents all nine public television stations throughout the state. They are: WNED (Buffalo), WXXI (Rochester), WCNY (Syracuse), WSKG (Binghamton), WPBS-TV (Watertown), Mountain Lake PBS (Plattsburgh), WMHT (Troy), WNET (NYC), and WLIW (Long Island).

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) oversees one of the nation’s largest addiction services systems with approximately 1,600 prevention, treatment and recovery programs. OASAS chemical dependence 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, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369), by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369), or by visiting