Hawai‘i Opioid Initiative kicks off prevention campaign

HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i Opioid Initiative (HOI) launched a new campaign this week for those struggling with opioid addiction and their family members. Advertisements will run on television, print, digital and social media outlets through the end of February.

The public service announcements feature personal stories from Gabe B. and Alberta S., who share what they’ve learned and overcome since their recovery from substance use disorder and direct people to HawaiiOpioid.org to view their full stories.

“If I could just help one family, it makes all the difference in the world,” explains Alberta, who’s story focuses on the toll her substance use took on her family members. “It robs you from being present in people’s lives.”

Campaign spots educate the public about the importance of locking up medications to protect loved ones, how carrying Naloxone can stop an overdose, information on managing physical and emotional pain safely, and how to get connected to substance use treatment services by calling Hawai‘i C.A.R.E.S. (Coordinated Access Resource Entry System).

The stories were filmed as part of a digital storytelling workshop held by the Hawai‘i Health and Harm Reduction Center and the Department of Health to help community members find healing by telling their stories. It was facilitated by people in recovery and provided a safe space to learn how to fight stigma by sharing their experience. More stories from additional community members will be added to the website and aired as public service announcements in the coming weeks.

The HOI is a group of stakeholders across the state who meet regularly to address substance use treatment access, prescriber education, data-informed decision-making, prevention and public education, pharmacy-based interventions, and support for law enforcement and first responders. While opioid overdose death rates in Hawai‘i have declined since the inception of the HOI in 2017, the incidence of all drug-related deaths has far surpassed traffic fatalities. Preliminary data through September indicated that this trend continued into 2020.

“COVID-19 has already had a tremendous impact on our mental health and emotional well-being, and we’re concerned that it will lead to increases in substance use and overdose,” explains Eddie Mersereau, deputy director for the Department of Health’s Behavioral Health Administration. “This campaign informs people about the resources available to them and reminds people that it is okay to ask for help.”

Individuals and their loved ones can contact Hawai‘i C.A.R.E.S. to be connected to substance use treatment services in their area. Hawai‘i C.A.R.E.S., formerly the Crisis Line of Hawai‘i, also offers crisis support, mental health resources, and help with isolation and quarantine due to COVID-19.

“There’s people that are going to be there for you to lean on, people who are there just to be an open ear,” shares Gabe. “Make sure you reach out to them, and they’ll grab you as hard as they can.”

If you or someone you know needs to be connected to substance use treatment services, call Hawai‘i C.A.R.E.S. at 1(800)753-6879 or text ALOHA to 741741. Watch Gabe and Alberta’s stories at HawaiiOpioid.org.

1 Comments
  1. Gobble December 26, 2020 8:43 am Reply

    This Article may have missed the point of the problem.

    Itʻs not about agencies, professionals, and after the fact treatment too late in an overdose fatality, etc. Itʻs not about using first choice of pain treatment being prescription drugs, including any pain killers, especially opioids.

    Because pain killer drug habituation for some could take only a week, while for some people full physical and mental addiction can be soon to follow, while serving to increase the incredible already 4.4 billion prescription drug sales per year in America. Drugs used as profit, become addiction, and produce more profit and are unethical.

    Drug treatment should be the last resort treatment for pain.

    Even some pain not associated with musculoskeletal problems can be helped by those who traditionally use only musculoskeletal methods.

    Most people in pain are suffering from low back and neck pain or some other musculo~skeletal area, like their extremities, e.g., arms, legs, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, ankles, and feet.

    Not one of these problems is caused by not having enough opioids pr other pain killers; so why do the medical people think prescribing opioids and other drugs is the proper thing to do?

    Opioid treatment means repeated needless office visit fees paid to doctors and hospitals, leading to, in many cases, unnecessary opioid and other drug addiction and inevitably mutilating surgery.

    Besides, there are many alternative practitioners, some of whom are experts in correcting the cause of pain, or at least providing relief of pain wuthout the deadly use or abuse of opioids, etc.

    Pain is a warning signal telling that person with pain that something is wrong. Killing the pain without fixing the problem allows the real problem, which is not the pain, to worsen.

    For example, taking High Blood Pressure medication only lowers the blood pressure and lowers the blood pressure numbers, neither of which correct the vascular disease you have causing the blood pressure problem.

    Artificially Lowering ones blood pressure, and its numbers, without getting the accompanying vascular disease to become well, healthy, and normal, means that blood flow to all of your organs will be lowered as well, less blood flow to organs means less oxygen and nutrients to your organs. Just less blood flow alone to your organs means less oxygen to your organs. Less oxygen results in accelerated DEGENERATION to your vital organs. This means vital organ failure and a sooner death.

    You want your blood pressure to be normal without prescription drugs or other artificial methods. This is the same for all body malfunctions or organ failures. You want normal function restored.

    You need to restore your health and maintain your health with daily proactive effort.

    There are many alternative practioners that remove the cause of pain. Some better than others. To name a few: naturopathic physicians, chiropractors, yoga instructors, massage therapists, physical therapists, homeopaths, diet and nutrition instructors, and C1Atlas Neuro-Spinal Alignment specialists.

    Opiates and all other prescription drugs manage pain and malfunctions of the body, masking the signs and symptoms of disease, thus by masking or hiding the symptom, the disease is allowed to continue without proper care and the disese worsens over time.

    Opiates should only be used with intractable pain or severe trauma.


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