Maryland Department of Health Launches Opioid Awareness Campaigns

Caroline Cecil Dorchester Health Kent, MD Queen Anne's Talbot

Baltimore, MD (January 26, 2018)

Public Education to Combat Statewide Opioid Epidemic

The Maryland Department of Health today announced two multi-media advertising campaigns to help raise awareness and combat the state’s opioid epidemic.

In an effort to reduce the rate of overdose deaths among Marylanders through increased public education, the Department’s Behavioral Health Administration’s first campaign addresses the social stigma associated with opioid addiction, a stigma that discourages many from seeking appropriate – and, in many cases, life-saving – medical treatment.

“Prevention through education is critical if we are going to succeed in combating the opioid crisis in our state,” said Clay Stamp, executive director of Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center. “Through these public awareness campaigns, we are hoping to overcome the stigma that prevents people from seeking much-needed treatment.”

With the tagline “Less Judgment. More Compassion,” this anti-stigma campaign stresses that opioid addiction is not a moral failing to be judged, but rather a chronic disease that requires treatment. The campaign kicked off this week.

The second campaign, “Talk to Your Doctor,” stresses the importance of speaking candidly with your health care provider when being prescribed an opioid pain medication because these medications can be highly addictive. The campaign’s proactive message is: “Take charge of your health. Reduce the risk of addiction. Talk to your doctor about opioid pain medications.”

Both campaigns incorporate the following media:

– Public service announcements on radio and television;
– Movie screen advertising in theatres throughout the state;
– Targeted advertising in county newspapers and electronic media;
– Geo-targeted messaging on mobile devices.

“Last year, Governor Hogan became the first governor in the nation to declare the opioid crisis as a state of emergency. Since then, the Department has been working closely with the Opioid Operational Command Center (OOCC) to aggressively address this epidemic through a series of goals and initiatives,” said Secretary Robert Neall. “Through these important campaigns, we will help raise awareness to combat the opioid crisis here in Maryland.”

The OOCC leads the state’s response and coordinates directly with all 24 local jurisdictions. The OOCC launched Before It’s Too Late, the state’s effort to bring awareness to the heroin and opioid epidemic-and to mobilize resources for effective prevention, treatment, and recovery. Marylanders grappling with a substance use disorder can find help at BeforeItsTooLateMD.org and 1-800-422-0009, the state crisis hotline.

Funding for these campaigns is provided through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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