PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A national nonprofit has kicked off a campaign targeting opioid addiction in Rhode Island.
The Truth Initiative launched its commercial campaign Wednesday, which organizers say is aimed at informing the younger population about the risks and consequences of tobacco and opioid addiction.
Daniel Fitzgerald, The Truth Initiative’s project leader in Rhode Island, said he plans to work with community organizations statewide.
“I graduated from Chariho High School in 2013 and unfortunately, within 13 months of graduating, I lost several classmates to opioid overdose,” Fitzgerald said. “I really hope that this campaign is able to bring that message to all Rhode Islanders.”
The campaign consists of new television ads will convey just how fast addiction can take hold of someone’s life.
“The ads are really aimed at educating young people about how when they have a sports injury, or if they’re really stressed in their lives, that using and misusing opioIds could have unintended consequences,” The Truth Initiative’s Amy Taylor said.
The nonprofit said that over the past three years, Providence saw the highest percent of opioid overdose calls in Rhode Island, with more than half of the victims being under 35 years old.
Taylor said reaching Rhode Island’s youth is imperative, calling the state “the epicenter of opioid misuse.”
The nonprofit hopes the new campaign will prevent any further drug-related tragedies.
“I think the most important thing to reduce stigma because I think when we talk about opioid overdose or even substance abuse in general, we often think of those people,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s not those people, it’s all of us, unfortunately, overdoses affect all groups of people.”
The television ads will begin airing on Jan. 15.