Read below for a few questions that are answered in the podcast.
Where can I learn more about the campaign?
Visit ny.seethesignssavealife.org to find information and resources for signs of opioid addiction.
You can also find the 60 second PSA by clicking here or by watching in the player below.
How does the opioid epidemic affect county coroners and medical examiners?
“Medical examiners have had to cut staff because their funding has been cut – so they're being asked to do more with less,” said Scott Schmidt, President of the NYS Association of County Coroners and Medical Examiners. “When you add onto an existing, increasing case load with more and more diverse cases that are taking more time to research and to determine the cause and manner of death – it's overwhelming.”
“It's not an overhyped situation that we're talking about here – it's completely overwhelmed the coroner and medical community, all across the state, all across the United States,” said Acquario. “If we look at the drug overdoses right now there are nearly 65 thousand drug overdoses each year. That number is going up, up, up. It's a 200 percent increase in the rate of overdose involving opioids since 2000. It's just staggering an it's an epidemic that is largely preventable.”
What are some of the challenges that coroners and medical examiners face in this crisis?
“You have to break that news to the parents or family, who are indignant and defiant that this person did not have a drug problem,” said Schmidt. “Those conversations are very, very strenuous, and they are very taxing, and can become dangerous. It's not something that people want to hear.”
How does this campaign stand out from other addiction PSAs?
“I think this campaign is just another way that the last responder, if you will - instead of the first responder - is issuing a warning, is issuing a call for help, a call for intervention, and that's what this campaign is about,” said Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of the NYS Association of Counties.
“See the signs is to recognize that someone is using, that we can prevent the death and jump on this person in an early stage and say, ‘Hey. We need to get you to treatment, we need to get you help, we need to get you into recovery so that you don't die – because that's your choice, to get clean or die,'” said Schmidt.
Listen to the full podcast to hear more about how NYSAC and NYSACCME came together to launch this campaign and how this epidemic is affecting professionals and communities throughout New York State.