About “For the Love of”
Recognizing the increasing opioid overdoses and deaths in Orangeburg County, the Tri-County Commission on Alcohol & Drug Abuse’s prevention department applied for and received a $48,000 grant from the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (SCDAODAS) to implement evidence-based prevention strategies designed to increase community knowledge and awareness of the risks in opioid misuse and proper medication storage and disposal from October of 2021 until August of 2022. As much emphasis has been placed in the media on the opioid epidemic and proper medication storage and disposal for several years now, the TCCADA wanted to explore and expand other avenues of message content and exposure.
Why Hunters and Fishermen?
According to the data on the “Just Plain Killers” website for Orangeburg County, males between the ages of 25 and 54 account for the majority of drug and opioid overdose deaths and Naloxone administrations. This is also a prime age group for hunting and fishing with an average age of 40. As Orangeburg County is well known for its hunting and fishing, messages were developed that focused on preserving the environment by not flushing medications and contaminating the water tables that feed the Edisto River and Lake Murray and subsequently the wildlife inhabitants. According to the Department of Natural Resources, there are 6,772 hunting licenses, 11 public boat ramps and 19 public accesses to the lake in Orangeburg County. The county was number one in the state for deer culling in 2020 and reflects the largest number of resident hunters in the state.
Why Pet Owners?
While opioid overdoses are considered a human problem, pets can be harmed or killed if owners leave out or don’t properly secure their drugs. In a paper published in PLOS ONE, scientists analyzed calls to a poison control hotline for pets, and found that owners made nearly 600 calls per year, on average, to report the accidental ingestion of opioids. Researchers found 5,162 cases of opioid poisonings in the United States were reported to the Animal Poison Control Center between 2006 and 2014. According to Geofencing data, there is an audience of 8,666 pet owners in Orangeburg County. While there are other problematic issues relating to prescription medications and pets, the goal for now is to increase awareness of the dangers for pets from human drugs and encourage proper disposal and storage of both human and pet medications.
With two distinctly different target audiences to reach and one awareness campaign, a cohesive message was developed to make the biggest impact. As everyone will do their best to protect something they love, the campaign combined each audience’s love into one message, “For the Love of.”