State launches opioid awareness campaign for younger adults
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island is launching a new opioid awareness campaign aimed at young adults, a state health department official said.
The campaign, which was announced Wednesday during the monthly meeting of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force, will launch Jan. 15 in partnership with the Washington, D.C.-based non profit, Truth Initiative. The organization claims it had a central role in helping reduce tobacco use among young people.
The campaign is aimed at 18- to 34-year-olds, an age group with a high overdose rate.
“Young people are surprisingly unaware of how quickly and easily a person can become addicted to opioids,” said State Health Department Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott. “Opioid dependence can happen in just five days.”
The campaign will include online ads and videos showing scenarios that lead to youth opioid dependency, like over-reliance on the drugs for sports injuries, recreational use, or turning to opioids in times of stress, according to the Truth Initiative.
North Carolina, Indiana and Tennessee are also being targeted in the campaign. Those four states have the biggest opioid addiction problem among young people, said Amy Taylor with the Truth Initiative.
Another part of the campaign is targeting specific Rhode Island communities where state EMS data shows there have been the most situations that have required use of the overdose antidote drug naloxone between 2016 and 2019, including Central Falls, Lincoln, Pawtucket, Providence, Warwick, West Warwick and Woonsocket.