Advertisements telling the “real stories” of people affected by opioid abuse will begin appearing across Wyoming media outlets as part of an awareness campaign run by the state Department of Health.
The Rx Awareness Campaign is a national effort produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a Wednesday press release. In addition to highlighting the dangerous effects of opioid abuse, the campaign will promote the use of antagonists — medications that can stop overdoses — and the safe disposal of medications.
The effort is the latest move by Wyoming officials to battle opioid abuse in the Equality State. A state task force, composed of several lawmakers, is examining several pieces of legislation to combat misuse and overprescribing of the pills. Earlier this year, Carbon County and the Wind River Reservation filed lawsuits against a number of pharmaceutical groups involved in the manufacturing of prominent opioids, like OxyContin.
Generally, Wyoming has avoided the worst of the opioid epidemic that’s ravaging parts of rural America. Overall overdose deaths declined from 94 to 60 between 2016 and 2017, though health officials have said they’re not sure what prompted the decline, and they’ve urged against reading too much into a one-year drop.
Still, there are people affected by abuse here.
“While Wyoming is not experiencing the devastating consequences of opioid abuse to the same extent as some other states, we know many residents and their families are affected,” Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and epidemiologist, said in a statement.
The campaign will tell “real stories of people whose lives were dramatically affected by opioid abuse,” she said in the release.