BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Billboards across Western New York are part of a major new public awareness campaign that one man says will save lives.
"Painkillers kill more than pain."
That's the message Avi Israel wants billboards to send to the public. Thirty of these billboards went up across the region as part of a campaign against prescription drug abuse.
Israel said, "What we're trying to achieve is educate the public, educate the doctors about the dangers of opiates. We're not trying to take the medicine away from anyone, by no means at all."
The CDC says 100 people die from drug overdoses every day in the United States, and most of them are abusing prescription drugs.
Israel's son, Michael, took his own life after becoming addicted. Since then, Israel has been on a mission to stop the abuse so other parents won't have to visit their children at a cemetery.
He partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield and through Channel 4 and other media will spread this message over the next few months.
"In addition to the billboards, there will also be 30 second PSAs or commercials shown on local television and documentaries shown in local schools," Israel said. "It's going to wake you up; it's going to grab your attention. That's what we wanted."
The advertising campaign cost millions of dollars and was made possible by local businesses volunteering their services.
Israel said, "I wish someone would have done this three years ago. Michael would be alive today. Instead we're standing here."
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