GLEN OAKS, NY —
Darryl Strawberry holds many titles: he's an eight-time All Star, a four-time World Series Champion, and a two-time Silver Slugger. But, during today's visit to Zucker Hillside Hospital, the stand-alone behavioral health facility of Northwell Health, he made it clear that his favorite title is addict in recovery.
During his presentation, made to a gathering of substance abuse specialists, peer counselors and people struggling with addiction issues, Mr. Strawberry spoke in emotional details about his personal journey from addiction through recovery. Referencing his new book, "Don't Give Up On Me," Mr. Strawberry advised his audience that no matter whether the addiction is alcohol, heroin or other opiates, or anything from food to sex, there is hope and possibility for anyone in search of a better life.
"We have to step up as a society," he said, "and I want to thank everyone at this hospital who works to make life better for those who need it. Recovery is possible, but we all have to help. The people who work here in this hospital – just know that this is not a job, it's a calling. It's about letting every person who walks through your door know that their lives matter."
Many times during his presentation, Mr. Strawberry emphasized the fact that addiction is a disease that affects people from every neighborhood in this country and from every walk of life. "Addiction is a disease, and we have to tell people that there is nothing weak about a person getting addicted to drugs," he said. "This is not a weakness. We have to remember that we don't know a person's story. All we can do is reach out a hand and ask, 'How can I help?'"
Based on the National Center for Health Statistics figures, traditional opioid painkillers, such as OxyContin and Percocet, were involved in about 14,400 overdose deaths in 2016. Heroin was involved in more than 15,400 fatalities. Non-methadone synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, were linked to more than 20,100 overdose deaths. As these numbers continue to grow, it becomes clear that the opioid epidemic should be considered America's deadliest overdose crisis ever.
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About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State's largest health care provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, more than 600 outpatient facilities and nearly 15,000 affiliated physicians. We care for over two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 66,000 employees – 15,000-plus nurses and 4,000 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We're making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit Northwell.edu