The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a campaign to reduce overdose deaths from prescription opioid painkillers.
Between 1999 and 2015, more than 183,000 people in the United States died from prescription opioid overdoses such as OxyContin (oxycodone) and Vicodin (hydrocodone).
The goal of the CDC’s Rx Awareness campaign is to increase knowledge of the risks of prescription opioids and stop inappropriate use. Personal accounts from recovering opioid abusers and people who’ve lost loved ones will be featured.
“It only takes a little to lose a lot” is the campaign tagline. It will be featured in videos, audio ads, social media ads, internet banners, web graphics, billboards and posters.
Campaign ads are planned to run for the next 14 weeks in Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Ohio. The campaign will expand to other states as more funding becomes available.
“This campaign is part of CDC’s continued support for states on the frontlines of the opioid overdose epidemic,” CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald said in an agency news release.
“These heartbreaking stories of the devastation brought on by opioid abuse have the potential to open eyes and save lives,” she said.
In 2015, 12.5 million people in the United States misused prescription opioids. Every day, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for prescription opioid misuse and more than 40 people die from prescription opioid overdoses.
Prescription opioid abuse is also a major risk factor for heroin use. About three-quarters of new heroin users misused prescription opioids before using heroin.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on prescription opioids.