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"Let's Talk Fentanyl" ad campaign raises eyebrows for some straphangers

"Let's Talk Fentanyl" ads on subways raising questions
"Let's Talk Fentanyl" ads on subways raising questions 02:01

NEW YORK - The name of an ad campaign is raising eyebrows on subway trains. 

It's called "Let's Talk Fentanyl." 

The city says the initiative is meant to lower the more than 2,000 New Yorkers who die from overdoses every year. 

But as CBS2's Christina Fan reports, not everyone is comfortable. 

The ads aim to crack down on the city's fentanyl use with some very direct advice.

"I mean, just having ads to kind of talk about using drugs is kind of questionable," said Inwoood resident Troy Rood. 

"It's a good message. It should not just be on the train, it should be everywhere," another person said. 

The ads read "Don't be ashamed of using, be empowered you are using safely," along with tips such as "Start a small dose" and "Avoid using alone."

Some riders wonder if the messages are promoting illegal behavior.

"It seems like it's saying using is OK, and it's not. There should be more support for the people using. It seems like they are almost telling people to use," said Washington Heights resident Ephraim Ness. 

But the city Department of Health is standing by its "Let's Talk Fentanyl" campaign, which launched last December but then relaunched this May for a broader audience. In a statement, a spokesperson wrote in part:

"Every four hours, a New Yorker dies of a drug overdose. Shame pushes people underground... and shame is life-threatening. We want to fight shame and stigma. We want people to live."

"Hiding is just not the answer. It isn't," said Sam Rivera, executive director of OnPoint NYC. 

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