Group launches video campaign in Knoxville area, aimed at fighting opioid crisis in young people

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Addiction only requires five days and it can kill you. Many are hoping that message will help prevent young people from becoming dependent on opioids.

A campaign, called the “Truth About Opioids” launched Monday, following a partnership between the Truth Initiative, the Metro Drug Coalition, All4Knox, and the Knoxville Leadership Foundation.

The campaign includes a series of videos, aimed at educating young people about the opioid crisis, removing the stigmas surrounding addiction, and ultimately, lowering the number of opioid-related deaths throughout East Tennessee.

The videos, produced to hit home to people ages 18-34, begin with a student on their best day, but ends with how quickly a bright future can be ruined by opioids. The theme of each video is summed up in seven words: Opioid dependence can happen in just five days.

The Truth Initiative found 22% of people in that age range know dependence can happen in just five days, but nearly half of people in that category know someone addicted or recovering from prescription opiod addiction.

Ladonna Ellis, a Community Outreach Specialist with the Truth Initiative, said Monday the videos “humanize” the opioid addiction, so young people could see how easily the opioid crisis could hit their peers or their own homes.

“We’re really having that conversation and letting people know that even if it’s a prescribed medication, dependency to opioids can happen in five days. So, really people having that understanding that there’s no certain amount the can use, that within that five days, dependency can happen,” Ellis said about the goal of the campaign.

Ellis says she’s hopeful the campaign will bear fruit, much like her organization’s effort to combat cigarette smoking in young people in years past.

“We know that young people, when given the information, given the facts, and given the tools – they can make the correct decision for themselves as well as really educate their peers in their community,” Ellis said. “It’s really giving them the tools and the power, and the power to go out and make that change.”

For more information about opioid addiction, including facts, alternatives, and treatment facilities, you can go to thetruth.com.

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