City Unveils PSAs Targeting Opioid Epidemic

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Officials, parents, Worcester Bravehearts, and recovering addicts team up to deliver powerful messages

Worcester, MA – A series of 13 city-produced public service announcements, targeting the opioid epidemic facing Worcester, the state and the rest of the nation, will begin airing this week on cable television and social media.

The spots will begin airing on Charter TV3 this week. They will also be rolled out on the City of Worcester’s social media channels throughout the rest of the month, and are all currently available to watch on the city’s youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/cityofwooofficial.

"Opioid addiction is an epidemic, and the City of Worcester is treating it with a sense of urgency. These videos are just part of a coordinated strategy to fight this epidemic," City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. said. "We want to deliver the message to every member of our community that the city cares, help is available, and recovery is possible."

The English- and Spanish-language videos feature messages from Mayor Joseph M. Petty, City Council Public Health Subcommittee Chair Sarai Rivera, City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr., Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr., Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme, members of the Worcester Bravehearts baseball team, parents of drug-addicted children and community members in long-term recovery.

Each announcement conveys a different message – including where to find resources for those struggling with addiction, signs of addiction for parents to look for in their children, and information about where to safely dispose of potentially dangerous unused prescription drugs.

The spots were produced by the city’s Division of Cable Services, with support from the Division of Public Health and the City Manager’s Office.

The public services announcements are part of the city’s coordinated efforts to deal with the rising problem of opioid addiction. In the past year, Worcester has also trained every firefighter and police officer with the overdose-reversing drug NARCAN – in the last 12 months Worcester Police and Fire Department personnel have reversed more than 130 overdoses. In addition, the City’s prescription drug take back initiative has resulted in more than 230 pounds of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications being taken out of circulation. The Division of Public Health has also provided outreach and training to healthcare workers and community members on overdose prevention and the dangers of overprescribing pain medication.