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Syracuse joins movement to spur discussion, awareness of addiction

Ellen Abbott
Syracuse Common Councilors talk about the decision to join a statewide initiative raising awareness about substance abuse services.

Syracuse Common Councilors are getting behind a statewide initiative meant to raise awareness about local substance abuse services. The idea behind “United to Fight It: Preventing Substance Abuse” is to get community leaders together with substance abuse coalitions and plaster the community with the information that can help anyone in the midst of addiction get well.

“If you or someone you love is in the throes of addiction, asking for help is the first step," said Councilor Susan Boyle, who notes that sometimes these resources are not readily available for families or individuals. 

The initiative also has a prevention component, offering resources to schools or community groups.

Lon Fricano, president of the Heroin Epidemic Action League, says talking about the opioid crisis is key because stigma of addiction keeps many individuals from seeking help.

"You shouldn’t have to be ashamed to go to the doctor and say ‘I’m addicted to opiates, I need help,'" Fricano said. "But people do. They feel like they're criminals, they’re subhuman, and it’s just awful. It’s a terrible, terrible injustice.”

The initiative will promote the phone numbers and programs available for those suffering from addictions in central New York.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.