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Stop-Addiction

“Education is an essential part of the cure for this epidemic, starting with parents and their children, who are the most susceptible to not understanding the dangers associated with the misuse of prescription painkillers.” – Governor Baker

On Wednesday, June 17, Governor Baker took another step towards combating Massachusetts’ opioid addiction epidemic with the launch of a public awareness campaign aimed at educating parents and young people about the addiction threat. Currently, nearly 4 in 10 Massachusetts residents know someone who has misused prescription painkillers in the past five years, and heroin has become an increasingly popular alternative when those painkillers are unavailable. In 2013 alone, opioid overdoses resulted in 4,750 emergency room visits, 2,008 hospital visits, and 978 deaths. The number of deaths jumped above 1,000 last year.

Stop Addiction in Its Tracks campaign comprises television and online advertisements that direct people to www.mass.gov/StopAddiction for information meant to educate people about the details of opioid abuse as well as personal stories from families impacted directly by the epidemic. The $800,000 cost of the campaign was funded through a federal grant to DPH’s Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) for the purpose of educating parents about opioid use. 

In launching the campaign, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (HHS) Marylou Sudders warned: “If you think it can’t be your kid, think again. With this messaging, we are impressing on parents that the road to heroin could start with what is left in our own homes and medicine cabinets.”

Governor Baker named the Opioid Working Group in February to hold public listening sessions and develop strategic recommendations for the Commonwealth’s response to the opioid epidemic. Over 1,200 individuals attended four hearings across the state to share their stories with the working group.

“We repeatedly heard from parents during the Working Group listening sessions and in focus groups that they wanted the facts. They wanted to know the harsh realities of opioid misuse and addiction and how they can spot the warning signs that their child may be in danger. The website provides straight-forward details along with personal stories from parents who have dealt first-hand with this tragedy.” – Dr. Monica Bharel, Commissioner of the Department of Public Health

 

The working group will release its recommendations next week.

 

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