Billboard campaign for fight prescription drug abuse - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

City leaders to unveil billboard campaign to fight prescription drug abuse

Cleveland City Council, Mayor Jackson and other community leaders will unveil a billboard campaign aimed at prescription drug abuse on Wednesday, April 2 at 1:30 p.m. at the corner of Carnegie and East 14th Street. 

City leaders want to bring attention to the fact that prescription drug abuse is a known pathway to heroin abuse. 

Clear Channel Outdoor is donating more than 20 billboards across the city that will direct the public to a hotline number for assistance.

The city of Cleveland's anti- prescription drug abuse campaign is in conjunction with Cuyahoga County's fight against heroin addiction –"Lets Face It".

"Prescription drugs are a benefit to patients when used properly, but illegal use of opiates often leads to addiction and the risk of turning to heroin abuse, an escalating health issue in Northeast Ohio," said Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley. "Council is committed to fighting the prescription drug abuse epidemic through education, prevention programs, as well as giving our law enforcement the tools to eliminate improper prescribing practices."

A joint meeting of the Health and Safety Committees will precede the unveiling at 10 a.m. and will focus on opiate abuse and the law enforcement of drug laws. 

Participating in the joint hearing are:

· Judge David Matia, Cuyahoga County Drug Court; Judge Anita Laster-Mays, Cleveland Municipal Drug Court; and representatives from Cuyahoga County & Cleveland probation departments

· Law Enforcement agencies, Cleveland Division of Police, US Attorney General's Office and the  Cleveland Public Health Department

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic.  Studies have shown that there is a direct link between prescription drug abuse and heroin use.  A report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that people who used prescription pain relievers illegally were 19 times more likely to have started using heroin.  

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