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CDC Launches Campaign to Help States Fight Prescription Opioid Epidemic


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   (CDC)

September 25, 2017

Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is launching Rx Awarenessa powerful communication campaign featuring real-life accounts of people recovering from opioid use disorder and people who have lost loved ones to prescription opioid overdose.

The campaign aims to increase awareness and knowledge among Americans about the risks of prescription opioids and stop inappropriate use. Rx Awareness is CDC’s latest effort in the fight against the prescription opioid overdose crisis. From 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 people have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids.

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is committed to using evidence-based methods to communicate targeted messages about the opioid crisis and prevent addiction and misuse in every way we can,” said HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D. “Prevention is a key piece of the five-point strategy HHS unveiled under the Trump Administration for combating this crisis, which has left no corner of America untouched.”

With the tagline, “It only takes a little to lose a lot,” the Rx Awareness campaign uses testimonials to educate the public, focusing on the dangers of prescription opioids whether used for medical or non-medical purposes. The campaign materials include videos, audio ads, social media ads, internet banners, web graphics, billboards, and posters highlighting the importance of knowing the risks associated with prescription opioids to prevent misuse and overdose.

Everyone can help stop prescription opioid overdose

Success of the Rx Awareness campaign relies on partnership with state and local agencies and organizations across the country to share the messages and resources. Beginning September 25, campaign ads will run for 14 weeks in Ohio, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and New Mexico. Broader release is expected in additional states funded through CDC’s Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States and Data-Driven Prevention Initiative programs.

“This campaign is part of CDC’s continued support for states on the frontlines of the opioid overdose epidemic,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. “These heartbreaking stories of the devastation brought on by opioid abuse have the potential to open eyes – and save lives.”

Every day in the United States, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids – and more than 40 people die from prescription opioid overdoses. Misuse of prescription opioids is also a strong risk factor for heroin use. Among new heroin users, approximately three out of four report having misused prescription opioids before using heroin. In 2015, 12.5 million people misused prescription opioids. CDC and other federal agencies recognize this critical threat to public health and have made it a priority to raise awareness.

Rx Awareness and CDC’s Overdose Prevention in States efforts are part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ five-point strategy to fight the opioid epidemic by:

·         Improving access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services, including the full range of medication-assisted treatments.

·         Targeting availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs.

·         Strengthening our understanding of the crisis through better public health data and reporting.

·         Providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction.

·         Advancing better practices for pain management.

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