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Anti-Opioid Ads Aim To Prevent Addiction

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Troubling new commercials on TV are aimed at getting young people to better understand the deep dangers of opioid abuse.

The latest data shows 422 people died in 2017 from opioid overdose in the state of Minnesota alone.

Now, raw accounts of opioid addiction are packed into 30-second ads. One ad speaks of a young man from Atlanta, who finds Vicodin in his mom's bathroom. He becomes so addicted, he purposely breaks his arm in a door so he can get a prescription.

And there's more: Kyle who broke his hand with a hammer, Amy who crashed her car and Joe who broke his back -- all to get opioid prescriptions.

Prevention advocate Sadie Holland is Prevention Education Manager at Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge.

"I think people out of the realm of substance abuse disorder think it's a choice but you soon realize maybe the first initial decision was a choice and then after that, it, it takes over," Holland said.

(credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

Holland is a local supporter of the national ads. Truth Initiative, known for its graphic depiction of tobacco addiction, is taking on opioids. The new ads state that opioid addiction can take hold in just five days.

"It shows how fast the tolerance can build and someone falls into a substance abuse disorder and how far they need to go in order to achieve the same level of use," Holland said.

Her organization showcases raw personal accounts saying there should be nothing to hide, when you have everything to save.

Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge regularly sends their recovery clients out to schools, and they too get into sometimes troubling detail.

Holland says even when they get push back from parents, they believe the raw approach is the most powerful.

She says with internet accessibility, there's no reason to hide details from young people.

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