Even with ad campaign, OD deaths soared in Ohio
Anti-opioid abuse campaigns have targeted Ohio communities for years even as drug-overdose deaths continue to soar in the hard-hit state.
The effectiveness of such campaigns is under scrutiny as President Donald Trump proposes a “massive advertising campaign” as part of his administration’s response to the opioid epidemic killing thousands annually.
More than 2,500 people died of overdoses in 2014 in Ohio, the same year Republican Gov. John Kasich launched his anti-substance abuse “Start Talking” campaign encouraging parents and adults to talk to children about the dangers of drugs and other substances.
Last year, Ohio’s numbers jumped to 4,050 overdose deaths, many attributable to heroin and deadly synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
Ohio launched a $200,000 campaign in 2016 urging drug users’ relatives and friends and other members of the public to know the signs of an overdose and obtain an antidote.
Next month, the state launches “Take Charge Ohio,” a $1 million public awareness campaign targeting prescribers, their patients and the public. The campaign will include TV, radio, newspaper and online ads, along with billboards, social media postings and targeted emails.
The approach “is closely aligned with Ohio’s comprehensive initiatives to fight prescription pain medication abuse,” said Eric Wandersleben, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.