The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) launched an innovative and far-reaching public education campaign to increase awareness of the risks and harms of prescription pain medication misuse and abuse. Public Health seeks to empower the County’s 10 million residents with both an emotional connection and a call-to-action: Talk with a doctor about the safest ways to manage pain; know that treatment and recovery are possible; and understand the latest issues involving synthetic opioids, like fentanyl.
“Opioids do not discriminate. Misuse of opioids has tragically touched so many lives in LA County. Far too many of our families have suffered the heartbreaking loss of a loved one due to an opioid addiction. To end this opioid epidemic, we must make people aware of local resources and treatment centers available to them. This public awareness campaign will help families and those misusing opioids find the help they need to get on the path to recovery,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “Through this important campaign, LA County will do all it can to inform residents on how to safely use pain medications and avoid the risk of an overdose.”
“Opioid misuse trends in Los Angeles County are a serious public health concern. A key component in preventing addiction, overdose, and death, is educating people about the significant risks associated with using prescription pain medications,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “If anyone is struggling with dependency, we want them to know and feel hopeful that treatment and recovery are possible. We are here to help with dozens of service providers throughout the County.”
According to the most recent statistics, opioid-related deaths and overdoses are rising. In 2017, there were more than 480 accidental opioid-related deaths and more than 500 emergency room visits related to prescription opioid overdoses in the County. On an annual basis, about 3.8 million opioid prescriptions are written in Los Angeles County.
The campaign will run in English and Spanish on local airwaves, social media channels, websites, and billboards. This campaign is an important element of the County’s approach to reducing opioid addiction, as well as overdose and death. The media campaign launching today aims to save lives by connecting people to information and support about safe pain management, the risks of opioid use, and how to get treatment for addiction.
Focus groups of LA County residents helped to identify key issues and provide input that can be critical to the development of messaging and other health marketing strategies for this media campaign.
Held at LAC+USC Medical Center, today’s news conference featured L.A. County Supervisor, Fire Chief, Sheriff, public health officials, and healthcare professionals. Also joining were Danny Trejo, actor, and Jacki Jing, influencer and TV host, who described personal and family stories highlighting the potential dangers of prescription pain medication misuse.
The media campaign alerts County residents to two new websites: ManagePainSafely.org and ManageAddiction.org for information and resources. For information on how to connect with treatment, please call our Substance Abuse Service Helpline (SASH) at 1-844-804-7500 at any time, day or night.