Newest truth® opioid misuse campaign underscores need for youth education and prevention
Everyday scenarios facing many young people can lead to an opioid dependency. With the latest installment of The Truth About Opioids campaign from Truth Initiative®, a nearly two-year-long effort that is already seeing results, truth® continues to educate young people about the risks of misuse and reduce the stigma of opioid abuse disorder.
An estimated 1,300 young adults misused an opioid prescription for the first time each day in 2018, according to the most recent data available. The new campaign, “Best Day,” depicts typical circumstances that inadvertently lead to youth opioid dependency, from over-relying on opioids for sports-related injuries, to using opioids recreationally in social situations, to turning to opioids in times of stress. The videos underscore how young people are particularly vulnerable to the risks of opioid misuse and that public education and prevention have pivotal roles to play — alongside emergency response, treatment and recovery — in the comprehensive effort to combat opioid misuse.
Each video highlights that opioid dependence can happen after just five days — a fact based on Centers of Disease Control and Prevention data — and directs people to thetruth.com to access information about identifying opioids and alternatives, opioid addiction risks, and a treatment locator powered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Best Day follows previous The Truth About Opioids campaign installments that told the stories of young people who became dependent on the powerfully addictive drugs, including “Know More” and “Treatment Box” in 2018. Treatment Box, which won an Emmy Award, captured 26-year-old Rebekkah’s story through a multiscreen installation in New York City and brought Americans face-to-face with her opioid addiction, withdrawal and treatment.
The Truth About Opioids campaign is already having an impact. In a case study of the campaign in Rhode Island, where Truth Initiative worked with the state to increase residents’ exposure to the campaign, evaluations indicate positive changes in attitudes about opioids among young people. For example, results show:
- increased risk perception of opioid misuse (using opioids for the experience or without a doctor’s instruction)
- greater likelihood of giving or seeking more information about prescription opioids and the epidemic, such as talking to a friend or loved one about their prescription opioid use and looking up information about the epidemic
- increases in anti-stigma sentiments
- greater willingness to join a movement to end the opioid epidemic or take a stand against prescription opioids
Truth Initiative began confronting the opioid epidemic in 2018 because of the recognition and credibility of the truth brand and its record of success in tobacco prevention and education. truth, which prevented more than 2.5 million young people from smoking between 2015 and 2018 alone, is applying its tobacco prevention strategy in its opioid public education campaign by giving young people the facts and empowering them to make smart decisions.