Government launches anti-opioids campaign - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Government launches anti-opioids campaign

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The Opioids: Truth campaign portrays victims of the epidemic. (HHS) The Opioids: Truth campaign portrays victims of the epidemic. (HHS)

DURANT, Okla. -- The federal government launched a new public health campaign Thursday to fight the opioid epidemic.

Every day, an average of 115 Americans die as a result of an opioid overdose. U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said this new campaign -- The Truth About Opioids -- is aimed at young people.

"We are committed to defeating this opioid epidemic. The president wants us to focus on lowering prescribing rates," Adams told KTEN. "We only have 5 percent of the world's population, but we prescribe 85 percent of the world's opioids."

One video produced for the campaign features the true story of "Joe," who became so dependent on pain medication that he intentionally broke his own back "to feed his addiction."

"The ads are hard-hitting, but it's important to know that they're also scientifically validated," Dr. Adams said.

Admiral Brett Giroir of the U.S. Public Health Service concedes that the opioid epidemic presents a real challenge to care providers.

"I do believe there is a solution, but it's not a simple solution," he said.

A drug called Narcan could be a part of the solution. It helps stop addiction.

"Particularly in Oklahoma, it's available free at many different places," Giroir said. "You can text a number and that can reverse you in an overdose; it's really a life-saving drug."

The Surgeon General is confident that the epidemic can be brought under control.

"We can, we will, and we must overcome," Dr. Adams said. "It starts with prevention and education, and that's what this ad campaign is all about."

Many media companies have volunteered to place these ads online and on television for free, including NBC Universal, NBC's parent.

The White House said the Truth campaign is just the beginning of a wide range of initiatives.

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