Survey Shows Painkiller Awareness Campaign Is Working

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The large campaign in Western New York to raise awareness on the dangers of prescription drug addiction appears to be working, according to results from a new survey.

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York helped spearhead the campaign, along with Avi Israel, who lost his son to addiction several years ago.

They enlisted the help of more than 50 media and retail organizations to help spread the message through television public service announcements, billboards, radio advertisements and more.

The survey showed 95 percent of Western New Yorkers now know that prescription pain medications are highly addictive and that 72 percent of people said the campaign helped raise their awareness

"We should all collectively be really happy about the results," Gretchen Fierle, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications for BlueCross BlueShield of WNY, said.

The goal is for all Western New Yorkers to know the highly-addictive nature of these pain pills, Fierle said, adding that the results so far exceed what they thought was possible.

"We never expected to have the kind of results we've already received after just four months of a campaign launch, so we're very, very happy about it," Fierle said.

Israel's son Michael took his own life while dealing with an addiction to pills that he was prescribed by doctors. The dad now speaks with students across Western New York, pushing the message of the campaign that "Painkillers Kill More Than Pain."

"You can see the concern," Israel said. "You can see the fear, and I hope that we get to them."

The campaign hopes to reach every middle and high school classroom in Western New York. WNED-TV produced a documentary, which will be shown in classrooms, along with accompanying education materials.

WEB EXTRA: List of drop-off locations for unused or unwanted prescription drugs on April 26 (sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency)


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