Arizona Opioid Youth Prevention Campaign Goes Live

By Will Stone
Published: Monday, December 31, 2018 - 4:59pm

Arizona health officials hope a new media campaign will deter more teens from abusing opioids.

On Monday, the state launched the youth prevention campaign as part of its response to the drug overdoses crisis.

One video features a teenager standing against a white background looking pain-stricken until the screen flashes to a spilled bottle of pills and the campaign slogan “Opioids: Getting In Is Easier Than Getting Out.”

The campaign will run on social media platforms, streaming music services and YouTube.

More than 2,200 people are suspected of dying from opioid-related overdoses since June 2017.

The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, passed in the 2018 legislative session, set aside $400,000 dollars to develop the campaign through teen focus groups.

“A lot of people did not start with an illicit drug, they were using a prescription drug as prescribed by a provider,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Christ said the campaign emphasizes that opioids can be just as dangerous and addictive as illicit drugs.

“By teaching them, you think you may be taking a prescription, you may just be using them one time at a party with your friends, but you don’t know how addictive they truly are,” she said. “Getting into opioid misuse and addiction is much easier than it is getting out of that chronic disease.”

Only 15 percent of Arizona high schoolers reported misusing opioids, and Christ says the campaign website uses those statistics to help counter the peer pressure some teens feel.