The national heroin and opioid crisis is hitting New York City hard. Last year, more than 1,370 people died from overdoses in the city, and 1,123 of those deaths have been linked to heroin or other opioids. One opioid in particular, fentanyl, has been identified in nearly half (44%) of these deaths in 2016. It's cheap and extremely powerful, and it's being added to heroin and cocaine and manufactured as counterfeit pills. When you use any of these drugs, you don't know what you are getting, and you may be bartering for death.
In an effort to stem the tide of opioid-related deaths, The New York City Police Department wants to encourage people who experience or witness an overdose to call 911. That's why we created and launched our new "Save a Life – Call 911" campaign to remind New Yorkers to seek medical attention for overdose.
People engaged in illegal drug activity are often fearful that calling 911 for an overdose will subject them to arrest and prosecution. Yet, the New York State 911 Good Samaritan Law protects most people from incidental arrest when they call for help. That is what the NYPD ad campaign is seeking to publicize. The NYPD wants to save lives in these circumstances, not make arrests. See an overdose? Call 911. Save a life.
Phase 1 of the NYPD campaign launched on June 19th and included advertisements on all five Staten Island Ferry boats, LED and static advertisements in both Staten Island Ferry terminals, and traveling billboards known as street blimps in the Bronx and on Staten Island, the two boroughs hit hardest by the heroin and opioid crisis.
Phase 2, launching this summer, includes advertising on 1,000 subway cars, 115 buses, 260 subway platforms, and 30 urban panels, which are the signs above subway entrances. Phase 2 also includes an extensive geo-targeted social media campaign.
For more information on overdose prevention, support, or referral to treatment, call the 24/7 hotline, 1-888-NYC-WELL, or visit https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.us.