More Powerful NC: Statewide campaign to combat opioid epidemic

Goal is to educate, engage, and empower North Carolinians to confront opioid crisis

NC takes new aim at opioid epidemic

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A statewide public education campaign called More Powerful NC was launched Thursday in Charlotte. The goal is to confront opioid addiction by empowering people to fight against addiction in their communities.

“These are not numbers, these are human beings. These are children, siblings, loved ones,” said NC Attorney General Josh Stein. “What has not happened in North Carolina is a statewide public education campaign to inform your viewers, the general public.”

More Powerful NC’s website provides people with facts about the epidemic, information about addiction treatment and recovery, and suggestions for ways to get involved. Specifically, the website includes tool kits for parents, educators, coaches, local government officials, and others to help people take action in their own communities.

“There will be television commercial that start today, there will be billboards, radio ads, digital ads,” said AG Stein. “We want people to know what to do to fight this crisis.”

The campaign is slated to run through 2019.

"The website is chalked full of valuable resources and this will be an invaluable tool to me and other,” said Debbie Dalton who lost her son to an overdose. “His friend told me that Hunter had overdosed, and I remember screaming hysterically and I could wrap my head around was I was hearing.”

Dalton founded a foundation in her son’s memory called the Hunter Dalton HD Life Foundation. The goal is to raise awareness about drug use, especially recreational drug use.

“There was not one question I had that I didn’t have answered with that website,” Dalton. “It is a place for parents to go to and start a conversation and to have all the resources they need.”

Through this campaign, organizations like hers will be able to partner with more organizations and agencies.

“As one little foundation, to go around trying to make things happen. Now, you have the AG office and these other organizations, and I think we will be more powerful," said Dalton.

Bryan Licsko says campaigns like this could have helped him several years ago when he struggled with substance use disorder.

“It was not the easiest thing in the world to find out where I needed to go and what I needed to do to get the help. That is why campaigns like this are so helpful,” said Licsko.

Licsko says having a website and campaign like this may help those struggling and take down one barrier to finding information.

“It is probably a barrier for a lot of people out there. Especially for those that are not tech savvy or have not been around a lot of people with a substance use disorder,” said Licsko.

The campaign also includes major hospitals like Atrium Health.

“We are here today because it’s our moment to collectively act on what’s become one of the most important health and social issues of our time,” said Eugene Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health.

“You have a lot of people doing a lot of great work in different silos, and if you bring all that work together and integrate it in a way that impacts hundreds of thousands to millions of patients,” said Dr. Joseph Hsu the Vice Chair of Quality, for Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute. “It will help North Carolinians understand there a lot of other options out there and there is evidence that they work.”

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