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Matthew Perry, opioids, and what states can do about the opioid epidemic

A smiling man with short dark hair wearing a blue button-down shirt and a grey blazer. He is holding a pair of eyeglasses. The word "Connections" appears on the left side of the photo in vertical letters.

The death of “Friends” star Matthew Perry has led to renewed conversations about addiction. Perry struggled with addiction for decades, and spent much of his time helping people with similar challenges.

In 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that nearly 17 percent of the population had some kind of substance use disorder. Two years later, a former Biden administration official is calling on New York Governor Kathy Hochul to declare the opioid epidemic a public health emergency.

What would this mean for New Yorkers who need support? What kinds of policies would best curb the epidemic? Our guests share their recommendations and insight:

Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.