PSA from Counties and Coroners Urges New Yorkers to See the Signs of Opioid Addiction

Hard-hitting video focuses on recognizing the signs of opioid abuse before it's too late.
As the opioid crisis continues to devastate communities across New York State, a cross section of county leaders have come together to create a campaign to bring awareness to the signs of opioid abuse. 
The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) has partnered with the New York State Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners (NYSCCME) to create a hard-hitting advertisement that will run on television stations throughout New York State. Thirty-second vignettes will run on television in all NYS markets and a long form 60-second message will be delivered digitally as well.

See the Signs, Save a Life

A comprehensive website,, was created to anchor the campaign and is a resource for anyone affected by this fast-growing epidemic. You can also view the PSA and resources from NYSAC at
“From ‘first responder' law enforcement receiving calls for help, to the ‘last responder' Coroners and Medical Examiners confirming the cause of death, local government officials confront the effects of addiction and opioid abuse in our communities every day,” explained Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of NYSAC. “We need to continually educate and inform our communities of the danger associated with opioid abuse. We are hopeful that this campaign will raise awareness of the signs of addiction before it's too late. We can all encourage our families, friends, and neighbors to seek help and break the all too familiar cycle of use, abuse, addiction, overdose, and death. It's never too late to see the signs and save a life.”
Scott Schmidt, President of NYSCCME, said, “The rationale behind this PSA was simple. As Coroners, Medical Examiners and Funeral Directors, we are tired of watching people die senselessly. While we aren't on the front lines of this epidemic (such as Fire and EMS personnel), we are on the front line working with families in the aftermath as the last responders. We hear the repeated mantra of family members emphatically denying that their loved one used drugs. We are often the recipients of the overwhelming and often times heart-wrenching displays of grief and violent emotion because we are the ones with the answer that no one wants to hear: ‘Your loved one died of a drug overdose.' The far-reaching effects of a drug overdose death are mind blowing. NYSCCME felt that by showing the after-effects of using these lethal substances with an ‘in-your-face' approach, we might be able to save at least one life.”
NYSAC and its member counties have been battling the opioid epidemic for years, through several agencies, including county social services, health departments, law enforcement, jails, 9-1-1 dispatch, district attorneys, public defenders, probation, coroners, and medical examiners.
“Opioid abuse takes its toll on many facets of our communities, and it will take all of us, working together, to reduce its devastation,” said NYSAC President MaryEllen Odell, the Putnam County Executive.

County Executive Quotes:
Hon. Steven Bellone, Suffolk County Executive
"As county leaders, we are entrusted with preserving the health and safety of our communities. It's up to us to help break the cycles of addiction, overdose, and death that have taken hold in so many corners of this state. This campaign is one more way to educate and prevent further tragedies." 
Hon. George M. Borrello, Chautauqua County Executive
“This crisis can effect anyone, and it's up to all of us to be aware, to know the signs, and to help our friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues who are struggling with addiction. This PSA is an urgent reminder that this crisis is happening in our communities, to people we interact with every day.”
Hon. Laura Curran, Nassau County Executive  
“We are battling this crisis on all fronts – from our county sheriff's office, to our health department, to our jails, and unfortunately the crisis has also reached 9-1-1 dispatch and our Medical Examiner's office. Our hope is that this ad brings about more awareness of the opioid abuse crisis, and what that abuse can look like. It's not always obvious, but if we all know the signs, we can save the lives of our friends, our family members, and our neighbors.”
Hon. Ed Day, Rockland County Executive           
“There is immense urgency to address the opioid crisis, on all fronts. This campaign seeks to address the epidemic on the ground level, in our homes, with our families and friends. While our county departments address the issue on a regional level, it's up to each of us to recognize the signs of opioid addition in those we care about.”
Hon. Cheryl Dinolfo, Monroe County Executive
“The opioid crisis has taken a heartbreaking human toll in every corner of our State, including the Rochester region. While the statistics are staggering, we can never forget what the numbers truly represent – sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and friends and family lost to addiction. In Monroe County, we are making great progress with our new Opioid Action Plan, but more can always be done to support education and prevention. I am grateful that our new ad campaign will help to raise awareness about the signs of addiction while providing another resource for those who need help.”
Hon.  Marcus Molinaro, Dutchess County Executive  
“The opioid crisis is the greatest public health threat of our lifetime, and it has cost the lives of countless residents across New York State. Dutchess County has taken great strides to face the issue and combat it, providing copious resources to those battling addiction. Every one of us must know the signs and know where to turn for help."
Hon. George Latimer, Westchester County Executive
“Addiction is an illness, and an effective response to this crisis must include awareness and compassion for those battling opioid addiction. This ad reminds us all to be on the lookout for signs of addiction in the people we love – this epidemic impacts every community in our county. The only way to help our communities is to overcome the stigma associated with drug abuse and to seek help for our friends, family members, and neighbors.”
Hon. Daniel McCoy, Albany County Executive  
“As we battle the opioid crisis in Albany County, education, prevention and public outreach are incredibly important. This powerful PSA aims to remove some of the stigma associated with addiction and urges those closest to individuals affected by opioid addiction to seek help for their loved ones.”
Hon. Steven M. Neuhaus, Orange County Executive   
“County government, in collaboration with our community partners, is doing all that we can to treat people who are addicted and help their loved ones as well. This emotional PSA is another part of the solution to this problem – to raise awareness of the signs of addiction, and to urge families and friends to get help for their loved ones struggling with opioid addiction before it's too late.”
Hon. MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County Executive
Putnam County is working on many fronts to address the opioid crisis. This powerful PSA urges relatives and friends of people with substance use disorders to recognize the signs of a problem, and guide them towards help. As county officials, we need to do all we can to combat the unnecessary deaths attributed to this crisis.
Hon. Matthew L. Ossenfort, Montgomery County Executive          
“We've come together as county leaders in hopes of preventing overdose deaths – these deaths have already ravaged our communities throughout New York State. By urging New Yorkers to know the signs of opioid addiction, we can reach those in need of help before they become another statistic. I want our residents to know that the county is here to provide help and resources to those struggling with addiction and to their families. Know the signs, and reach out.”
Hon. Anthony J. Picente , Jr., County Executive, Oneida County
“The opioid crisis has hit Oneida County extremely hard. We all know someone who has succumbed to addiction, and we all wish we'd seen the signs before it was too late. The goal of this ad is to educate our communities about those signs, to encourage family members and friends to reach out if they think a loved one is struggling with addiction. This ad is emotional and powerful, and it's a reminder that we all have the power to save lives.”
Hon. Thomas J. Santulli, Chemung County Executive           
“The opioid epidemic is very real in Chemung County, and we need to be talking about the signs of addiction and abuse. In order to prevent further devastation, we all need to be aware of the problem, and know how to get help for those who need it. This ad brings much-needed awareness and is an important step toward removing the stigma around addiction support services.”
Hon. Mark C. Poloncarz, Erie County Executive 
“In Erie County, we've been working on combatting the opioid crisis for years. While we are finally starting to see a decrease in opioid-related deaths, it has taken a great deal of work on several fronts, through all county agencies. This video is an important educational tool as we keep working locally to inform, empower, and partner with our residents and stakeholders in this public health issue. Each of us have a role to play in keeping our families and our communities safer and healthier.”
Hon. Jason Garnar, Broome County Executive 
“It is our goal is to save lives, and the hope for this campaign is that we continue to acknowledge and address this crisis. Those who are suffering with this addiction need our help, from all levels of government and from organizations in our communities.”
Hon. Michael Hein, Ulster County Executive
“Making sure that everyone understands the resources that are available is imperative to reducing addiction among members of our community. This campaign focuses on a fundamental issue of public health and is another tool to be shared in combatting the opioid epidemic.”
Hon. Steven F. McLaughlin, Rensselaer County Executive  
"Too many lives have been lost or damaged due to the opioid crisis. Rensselaer County recognizes this fact and is working to combat this addiction epidemic with new resources and strong partnerships in government, law enforcement and the health and recovery communities. We are working hard to raise awareness in my county, and this effective ad campaigns will help boost our efforts locally."
Hon. Joanne Mahoney, Onondaga County Executive 
“We need to do everything we can to raise awareness and get help to the families most impacted by opioid and heroin addiction. We plan to add this public service announcement (PSA) to the other valuable resources in our county to help save the lives of those who are suffering from addiction. "