The Truth About Opioids Campaign

A public education campaign targeting youth and young adults in Rhode Island to reduce stigma and prevent the misuse of opioids among young people

The Truth About Opioids is a collaboration of the Rhode Island Health Department, the Truth Initiative, and the Office of National Drug Control and Policy (ONDCP) designed to help youth and young adults understand the facts about opioids, the risk of addiction, and the crucial role young people can play in solving the crisis within their communities. This public education campaign aims to close the knowledge gap about opioids and their risks, and features first-person, true stories of young Americans with opioid use disorder.

The public health intervention is based on the Truth Initiative's successful campaign to decrease smoking among young people. The messaging uses television and social media outlets to target young people aged 18-34 and will drive people to additional resources at The Truth About Opioids website and Rhode Island's overdose prevention website. Preliminary evidence shows that this public education campaign has the potential to shift young adults' opioid-related attitudes. 

More information on the initiative can be found in these press releases here and here and these news articles here and here. There has also been a toolkit released with this initiative. 

Messaging led to an increase in empathy and perceived risk of opioids and a decrease in stigma.

Continuum of Care
Type of Evidence
Response Approach
Early Intervention
Peer-reviewed Article

Evidence of Program Effectiveness

"In phase 1, near-final versions of 6 advertisements were shown to a sample of the target audience via an online survey portal to assess responses to the messages (N = 1210). Phase 2 of the study employed a pre/posttest design whereby 2 cross-sectional surveys were conducted, first prior to the campaign launch (N = 456) and another survey 6 months later in Rhode Island (N = 433)...In both phases, there was an increase in empathy and destigmatization. There was also an increase in perceived risk...This study demonstrated the potential efficacy of a media campaign to shift young adults' opioid-related attitudes." (Rath et al., 2020)