Television is a fantastic outlet for creating awareness for problems found in our communities. The state of New York has sponsored a new program focused on drug addiction recovery. Its goal is to bring attention to recovery options and give viewers a first-hand look at how addiction affects lives.

New York’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) is spearheading the addiction awareness campaign, calling the series “New Hope, New Life with OASAS.” The show pairs recovery stories with the insights of medical professionals, providing a well-rounded look at addiction and how to overcome it.

New Hope, New Life with OASAS

Not everyone understands that addiction is a disease, and people in the midst of substance use disorder don’t always know that help is available. The OASAS program aims to educate people about both of these issues. By shining a spotlight on the reasons behind drug addiction and the impact it has, the show can help break down stigmas that many people have about substance use disorders.

Of 19.3 million people who needed but did not receive addiction treatment, about 18.4 million (95.4%) did not believe they needed treatment. This overwhelmingly shows that people with addiction may not even realize that they need help. “New Hope, New Life” was not created just to bring awareness about the truth behind drug addiction. It also seeks to help people with addiction discover why they need treatment and learn how to get it.

Raising Awareness About Addiction

Drug addiction affects both small and large communities across the United States. Television programs like “New Hope, New Life” help raise addiction awareness by showing the impact that substance use has on American people.

Addiction is a disease, but the still-widespread belief that addiction is a choice has created barriers for many people. Anyone can develop an addiction, and if people do not understand that addiction is a mental disorder, they will be less likely to seek and receive treatment. The OASAS program brings in health care professionals to talk about the facts behind addiction, which helps to show people why recovery resources are so important. The program goes even further by providing information about how to find recovery treatment.

Recognizing Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

There are many signs and symptoms that point to a substance use disorder. Physical signs can include:

  • Tremors or seizures
  • Poor physical coordination
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Bloodshot eyes and small pupils
  • Weight or appetite changes
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Poor hygiene
  • Marks on the skin

Behavioral and psychological symptoms can include:

  • Changes in hobbies
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Lying and dishonesty
  • Self-isolation
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Money issues
  • Changes in personality traits
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Low motivation

Impact of Drug Addiction on Communities

The U.S. opioid epidemic has impacted small and large communities throughout the country. New York has a higher rate of opioid deaths compared to the national average, and there were 3,224 opioid overdose deaths in 2017 alone. Cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome (caused when women use opioids during pregnancy) have increased from 1.5 cases per 1,000 births to 8 cases per 1,000 births between 2004 and 2014.

“New Hope, New Life” has a mission to lower these statistics by providing medical information and sharing stories about the impacts of addiction. By removing stigma and providing resources for addiction recovery, the program can help create powerful changes in the state of New York.