State launches billboard campaign to combat opioid crisis

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - Several state organizations are teaming up to get the message out about the opioid crisis to drivers across the state.

The "Start Talking!" campaign is now on display on 200 billboards in Ohio. This comes as more people are on the roads for Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

"They're out in front of everybody from a teenage driver to your oldest driver and everybody inside the car," said Stephen Keys of Key Ads, one of several advertising companies across the state donating billboard space for the campaign.

According to state officials. children whose parents or other adults have conversations with them about the dangers of drugs are 50 percent less likely to use them than kids who haven't been talked to about it.

"If there's an issue out there, we need to be talking about it before it's too late," Keys said.

Part of the effort is getting the word out about drugged driving, encouraging people to dial #677 to report drug-related activity or possible impaired drivers.

This year, according to authorities, drugged driving is on the rise in Montgomery County.

"I personally have seen somebody impaired, and it ended up being someone on heroin," said Richard Confer, founder of Recovery Works Healing Center.

Confer's organization has also used billboards to advertise its substance abuse treatment centers. He said he hopes the "Start Talking!" campaign encourages even more than just a conversation.

"I still think people are afraid to come out and ask for help," he said. "So the more information, the more the public is aware - just please get help."

The billboard campaign will be active for at least the next month, Keys said.

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