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NY Post
New York Post
24 Feb 2024

NextImg:Error-riddled subway drug ads omit ‘overdose’ from PSA warning about dangers of fentanyl

What were they smoking?

The state’s Office of Addiction and Substances Abuse Services has bombarded subways with ads warning about the dangers of fentanyl — but many were riddled with errors.

Signs on a downtown R train subway car warning about the dangers of fentanyl were missing the word “overdose.” Matthew Sedacca/NY Post

On one Brooklyn-bound R train, at least four purple signs featuring colorful pills and images of the opioid overdose-reversing drug naloxone strangely omitted the word “overdose,” The Post observed this week.

“Just one fentanyl-laced pill can trigger a fatal,” the signs read.

Ads in the same subway car, just a foot above the odd sign, included the missing word.

The slipshod signage is the latest example of the state government burning public funds “to masquerade as bleeding hearts,” according to Councilwoman Joann Ariola.

“They can’t even be bothered to proofread their signs,” said Ariola (R-Queens), who hopes to establish a drug awareness day to educate people on combating substance abuse.

“If they even cared a little bit, they would make sure that they had a clear message.”

Subway car advertisements
Other versions of the subway ad do include the word “overdose.” Matthew Sedacca/NY Post

In October, OASAS began soliciting proposals to pay 15 vendors $300,000 each over three years for developing and continuing “harm reduction service projects statewide.”

A spokesman for OASAS would only say that a “small number” of subway signs for the fentanyl awareness campaign had been printed with a typo and insisted they had been reprinted and replaced “at minimal” “cost.

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The agency refused to share the duration of the campaign or the cost of printing subway signs for the campaign, which were paid for with federal funds.

Fentanyl was detected in 2,451 fatal overdoses in the Big Apple in 2022, according to the latest data from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 

The sloppy posters are “a sad commentary that this is the level [of help] we’re forced into,” said Luke Nasta, founder and CEO of Camelot Counseling Centers.

This isn’t the first drug safety ad campaign on the subway to go off the rails. A Big Apple PSA in 2022 that was featured on subway cars insisted druggies should feel “empowered” when they use potentially lethal fentanyl safely.