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Data Indicate POTUS' Anti-Opioid Ad Campaign Won't Work

Oct 28, 2017

President Trump is promising a large ad campaign to try to stem opioid deaths, but Ohio has seen its tally increase even with such ads.

More than 25 hundred people died of overdoses in Ohio in 2014, the same year Republican Governor John Kasich launched an anti-drug abuse campaign to encourage parents and adults to talk to children about the dangers of drugs. Ohio's overdose deaths rose to 4,050 last year. Many were attributable to heroin and deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Ohio launched a 200 thousand dollar campaign last year urging drug users' relatives and friends and other members of the public to know the signs of an overdose and obtain an antidote drug. Next month, the state launches "Take Charge Ohio," a 1 million dollar 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 spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Experts say the key to fighting drug abuse are programs that produce changes in behavior, not just an emotional reaction. An Associated Press Fact Check shows government and academic assessments of "Just Say No"-style messages have repeatedly yielded poor results on the national level as well. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health found a nearly 1 billion dollar national campaign designed to discourage use of illegal drugs by young people had no favorable effects.