Cape May, NJ, Raises Awareness of Dangers of Painkillers
Prescription painkillers are the most prescribed drugs in the U.S. Despite the fact that many doctors are reluctant to give the drugs to their patients, doctors also don’t tend to offer other solutions – and there are many. However, if more patients were made aware of the dangers of painkillers, they might well avoid dependence and addiction and demand other solutions for their pain. The Cape May County (New Jersey) PRIDE committee recently came up with an excellent idea to accomplish the first step by raising awareness of one disastrous consequence – heroin addiction – that may just get patients in pain to demand other solutions.
Why is using heroin a good idea? There’s no real stigma with most prescription drugs. Despite how dangerous some of them are, no one really thinks badly of you if you take them. After all, they came from your doctor. And he or she is supposed to be an expert, and a good guy. If it wasn’t absolutely necessary for you to take painkillers and other dangerous drugs, your doctor wouldn’t prescribe them, right? (Unfortunately, that’s not the case.)
But being associated with heroin is another story. A lot of white middle class people in the suburbs are now taking heroin, but most people still think heroin addicts are in downtown alleys and flophouses filled with dirty mattresses and littered with dirty needles.
If people know that taking prescription painkillers could, and often does, lead to taking heroin, they wouldn’t want to take the risk. They’d find alternative pain treatment.
Cape May County’s solution to educate the public is a billboard that warns you, in big, bold letters,
“Your medicine cabinet could be a gateway to heroin.”
There’s a phone number to call to find out more – which is excellent because a lot of doctors, if asked about it, aren’t going to be educated enough on the subject to answer questions accurately. And they may not be educated enough about alternatives.
Cape May County’s billboard is placed strategically. It’s less than 100,000 inhabitants aren’t likely to miss it.
Billboards are powerful. A lot of big companies spend money on them, and they wouldn’t keep spending that money if the billboards didn’t get results.
If you live in Cape May County, you’ve been warned. Now demand something better for your pain.
If you live elsewhere, get together with your Mayor and other public representatives to get them to get billboards up in your town too!