The city Health Department is stepping up efforts to tackle the growing opioid epidemic.

It is investing an additional $3 million to raise awareness of the crisis.

The city is also launching a new public awareness campaign featuring four New Yorkers telling their stories on how medications helped them beat their addictions.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett says part of the department's goal is to erase the stigma that surrounds treatment options.

"These medications, which include methadone and buprenorphine, as Dr. Church has mentioned, reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. They reduce opioid cravings. They reduce the risk of overdose and they give people their lives back," Bassett said.

"At one point, I was ashamed to say that I was on methadone," said one person at the event. "But today, I can say I'm proud because I am no longer in addition, as far as using and abusing. Today, I can say that I don't have to be ashamed about that I had a drug problem."

More than 1,300 New Yorkers died from a drug overdose last year. 82 percent of those deaths involved opioids.