Mayor launching new opioid-prevention campaign

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Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry is collaborating with a national public health organization to launch an opioid-prevention campaign in Fort Wayne. The campaign will illustrate circumstances that lead to youth and young adult opioid dependency.

Monday at Citizens Square, Henry announced the collaboration with Truth Initiative’s Vice President of campaigns, Community, and Youth Engagement Cianti Stewart-Reid. They’re introducing a series of four ads for T.V. and the web with the goal of helping young people understand the dangers of opioid misuse and its often fatal consequences.

“That’s the hope of this entire Truth Initiative campaign, to grab these young people when they’re young and expose to them some of the perils of drug abuse, that it can happen to anybody at any stage of life and in any walk of life,” Henry explained. “It’s not who you think as far as some of the television shows and movies that you watch with the individuals who have fallen to the wayside. This can happen to anybody and that’s the point we’re trying to make.”

The ads show students playing athletics, signing with college sports teams, graduating high school and having fun at graduation parties. While at these places they speak of the doom that will meet them once they get addicted to opioids, whether taking the drugs to address injuries, stress, or anxiety.

“These ads are really about talking to youth about experiences that they are already having and how they can be at risk if they’re not aware of the dangers of opioids and that’s why we’re using these situations that they already know to really talk to them where they are,” said Stewart-Reid.

Also at the announcement will be Jim McClelland, Executive Director for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement, State of Indiana, a representative from the Allen County Health Department, Tomi Cardin, Executive Director of Recovery House, and Nate Moellering, Community Outreach Coordinator of Fort Wayne Recovery, and community advocate Elizabeth Ember.

Among the facts they presented is that opioid dependence can happen in as little as five days. Another statistic is stat 740 people overdosed on opioids between January and July of 2017, as compared to 365 people that overdosed on opioids in 2016. Five percent of middle school and high school students in Allen County used opioids illegally in 2017.

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