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Campaign Hopes To Debunk Myths Kids Have About Opioid Abuse

In Wyoming, recreational use of opioid medications is most common among young adults, according to research at the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center. That’s why an addiction advocacy group is rolling out a new campaign to educate Wyoming’s youth about misinformation they might be getting about these drugs.

Laura Griffith works with the Wyoming Prescription Drug Abuse Stakeholders group that started the campaign they’re calling, “They Didn’t Know.” She said kids might think it’s safe to take opioids because they’re prescribed by a doctor.

“People don’t realize how incredibly serious even one use can be whether that’s taking pain medications out of grandma’s medicine cabinet or that people can overdose and become addicted very quickly,” said Griffith.

To ease the pain of an isolated rural life, Griffith said, she sees people turning to opioids.

“Addiction in rural communities can be a very silent killer because of distances between relationships and the distances between communities. I think [there’s] loneliness. Research has shown that with wind and cold and isolation that addiction can be a coping mechanism.”

Griffith said the campaign will help kids and their parents find resources to cope in other ways. She says it will reach out to them mostly through social media.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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