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Darryl Strawberry offers compassionate message during visit to substance abuse therapists, clients at Zucker Hillside Hospital
Story Number is : 021418100
Northwell Health

Darryl Strawberry during visit to Zucker Hillside Hospital
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?’”

Speaking of the current opioid epidemic that is gripping this country, Mr. Strawberry encouraged parents of children with a temporary wound not to allow their children to be treated with addictive medication.”

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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