Oxycontin

New Ads Take Tough Stance on Prescription Painkillers

A provocative new Philly ad campaign targets the use of prescription opioids, warning they are “heroin in pill form” and urges viewers – “don’t take the risk”.

As reported by WHYY, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health is launching a new installment of an awareness campaign warning people to avoid prescription painkillers, even when they get them legally from their doctor.

“Don’t take the risk,” urge the ads appearing on television and social media.

They tell a familiar story about how the public health crisis came to be, featuring real people from Philadelphia who turned to heroin after becoming addicted to prescription opioids — pills that some got from their doctors to treat pain.

“It started with three painkillers,” says one woman at the beginning of a 30-second television spot.

Then the ad cuts to others who describe the ravages of heroin addiction, some speaking from the streets of the city’s drug-plagued Kensington neighborhood.

Some scientists have challenged the narrative that the opioid crisis has been driven by people becoming addicted after a prescription from their doctor.

The research is complicated, but some studies have found that even people who use prescription painkillers long-term to treat chronic medical conditions have rates of addiction around 10 percent, while others have reported even lower rates.

Still, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley defended the phrase “heroin in pill form.”

“We think it is entirely appropriate,” he said. “[Both drugs] work in the same way in the body, and we thought that that analogy would help people recognize how dangerous these pills are.”

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To read more about how Philadelphia officials are taking a tough stance against prescription painkillers, please visit WHYY.

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