Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
WXXI, in partnership with public broadcasting stations across New York state, will air special programming examining the opioid crisis during the week of Oct. 15.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 affected by opioid addiction.Support for opioid crisis programming on WXXI is provided in part by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. A complete list of programs can be found here: want to hear what you have to say about opioid and heroin use in our community. Please click on this link to take a short survey.

Poll confirms perceived stigma surrounding drug addiction

A recent poll illustrates the stigma surrounding drug addiction.

More than three-quarters of New Yorkers who responded to a Siena College survey about the opioid crisis say the moral failings of those who are addicted is a contributing factor in the epidemic.

At the same time, people hold the opposing view that addiction is a disease.

"It might be to some extent sort of an individual protection mechanism, not to be too psychological,” said Siena College Research Institute director Don Levy. “We can't understand it. We can't understand how it is that people you know or you know of.... you think why? Why? Their life sort of looks like my life and then suddenly they, their partner, or their child falls prey to this epidemic."

The over-prescribing of opioids by doctors was cited most often in the survey as a factor contributing to the current level of opioid abuse.

Two-thirds of those who took part in the poll say government agencies aren't doing enough to address the crisis.  They want to see more drug abuse prevention programs in schools, more funding for treatment and rehabilitation, and more resources for law enforcement to track down drug dealers

"There is a recognition that we need to devote more dollars to arresting folks, to empowering the courts to work on greater severity of sentencing for traffickers,” Levy said, “and also to deal with that tricky point where police want to both save lives and catch dealers."

This is the second in a series of polls from Siena College this month on the opioid crisis. An earlier surveyfound that 54 percent of New Yorkers are directly affected by the opioid epidemic. One in four know someone who died of an overdose.

The polls are part of community effort by Prescription for Progress: United against opioid addiction, a newly formed coalition of of leaders in healthcare, media, law enforcement, education and business in New York's Capital Region aimed at raising awareness and taking steps to mitigate the crisis.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.