The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) began Monday promoting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Rx Awareness media campaign.
“The overarching goal of RxAwareness is just to raise awareness of the risks of prescription opioids,” said Adrienne Hearrell, project coordinator for the data-driven prevention initiative with KDHE. “It’s part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services five priorities for addressing the national opioid crisis. Essentially, increasing knowledge of how prescription opioids can be dangerous.”
The messages will be targeted to where they are needed most in Kansas.
“We worked with the epidemiologist of my program to determine higher risk regions of Kansas, based off of the prescription drug monitoring data, which is essentially a database that tracks controlled substances prescribed in Kansas,” said Hearrell. “We looked at areas where there are more prescriptions dispensed per capita and then we targeted the messaging to those regions specifically.”
The opioid crisis has hit home here in Kansas in the last couple of years.
“In 2016, there were about 300 deaths due to drug poisonings in Kansas,” said Hearrell. “About a third of those deaths did involve a prescription opioid, so we’re looking at about 100.”
The messaging will focus on January and February with a reinforcement in May and June. Funding for the project is slated to last through August.