‘It Only Takes a Little to Lose a Lot’

TOPEKA, Kan. – Today the Kansas Department of Health and Environment will begin promoting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Rx Awareness media campaign. The goal of Rx Awareness is to raise awareness of the risks of prescription opioids, as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ five priorities to address the national opioid crisis.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, drug poisonings are the leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. In 2016, the number of drug poisoning deaths reached an all-time high of more than 63,600 deaths – reducing life expectancy in the U.S. for the second consecutive year. This increase in drug poisoning deaths also placed unintentional injuries as the third leading cause of death in 2016, as compared to the fourth leading cause in 2015.

The majority of drug poisoning deaths involve either a prescription or an illicit opioid. Every day in the U.S., over 1,000 people receive treatment in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids, and 40 individuals die from prescription opioid overdose. From 1999 to 2016, the total number of U.S. poisoning deaths related to all non-heroin opioids exceeded 340,000.

The opioid epidemic is affecting Kansas. In 2016, there were more than 300 drug-poisoning deaths, and approximately one-third involved a prescription opioid. In addition to other efforts to address this public health crisis, KDHE is promoting Rx Awareness.

The campaign will utilize the tagline, “It Only Takes a Little to Lose a Lot” in videos, digital and social media, and out-of-home advertisements to highlight the physical, emotional, and economic toll opioid use disorder and overdose can take on individuals, families, and communities. Rx Awareness will target high-risk regions in Kansas based on the Kansas Prescription Drug Monitoring Program opioid prescription dispensing data.

This project is supported by the CDC’s Prescription Drug Overdose: Data-Driven Prevention Initiative program. For more information on Rx Awareness, visit CDC.gov/RxAwareness. For more information on Kansas’ efforts to prevent prescription opioid overdose, see preventoverdoseks.org.

Information thanks to Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

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