Reversing the Stigma – September 28, 2017




Feature-Length Film Includes Stories from New Yorkers in Recovery from Substance Use Disorders

Governor Cuomo Proclaims September “Recovery Month” in New York State 

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) today announced the upcoming release of a new documentary about addiction and recovery and the stigmas that surround them. “Reversing the Stigma” highlights the work being done in New York State to combat addiction and reminds viewers that addiction is a chronic disease that is treatable. The film, narrated by acclaimed television journalist Laurie Dhue, profiles multiple people in various stages of recovery, who share their stories and experiences. “Reversing the Stigma” was produced by OASAS and the New York State Media Service Center.

The film will premiere throughout New York during the month of September, which is National Recovery Month. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a proclamation marking the observance in New York State, which can be viewed here. This year’s National Recovery Month theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities.”

“There has been a long held belief that addiction only affects certain people, but the recent opioid epidemic has shown that it impacts people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, languages, and religions,” said OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “This documentary is key to helping people understand that addiction is a disease and recovery is possible. We thank Governor Cuomo for giving us the opportunity to tell these stories, and for all of his efforts to help reverse the stigma against people with substance use disorder.”

Dhue, a former television news anchor who hosted programs on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, speaks throughout the film about her own nearly two-decades-long struggle with addiction, as well as her own recovery process. Along with interviews from New Yorkers in recovery, care professionals and New York State leaders, the documentary also examines stigma and the steps New York State is taking to address addiction and support people whose lives it has touched.

In 2015, opioid overdose deaths rose by 16 percent across the country compared to 2014, while in New York State, deaths rose by more than 28 percent, to a total of 2,184. With those numbers, New York is continuing to take steps to increase access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services. Last year, approximately 232,000 individuals received treatment for a substance use disorder in OASAS-certified treatment programs, with an average daily enrollment of about 98,000.

The state is also working to cut down on the number of opioid prescriptions issued. Last year, the Governor signed a law to reduce the limit on opioid prescriptions for acute pain from 30 days to 7 days, and to mandate education on addiction and pain management for prescribers. Those steps resulted in 650,000 fewer opioid prescriptions being written in New York State, in the first year that the law was in effect.

“Reversing the Stigma” will premiere at the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York State annual conference in Buffalo on September 18. A short clip is available here, and a schedule of showings throughout New York State can be found here.

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPELine at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).

Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, community residence, or outpatient care can be found using the new and improved NYS OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard at or through the Access Treatment page on the NYS OASAS website. Visit the #CombatAddiction website at to learn more about how you can help to #CombatAddiction in your community.

Visit for more information on addressing heroin and prescription opioid abuse, including a Kitchen Table Tool Kit to help start the conversation about the warning signs of addiction and where to get help. For tools to use in talking to a young person about preventing alcohol or drug use, visit the State’s Talk2Prevent website.

CONTACT: Jonah Bruno, Communications, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, 518-457-8299

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