BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) It's hard to miss a new public awareness campaign on electronic billboards across Erie County. A couple times every minute a new message appears, each one directing you to talk to a different family member about his or her opioid addiction.
While statistically, young adults may be the most prone to opioid addiction, this public awareness campaign makes it clear that it could it be anyone including your Mom, your Dad or your aunt.
"We need to get the conversation started. That's the first thing," said James Kiblin, the general manager of Lamar Advertising's Buffalo division. He says the billboards are paid for completely by the billboard company as a public service. Kiblin notes that they don't direct people to any one website or agency because there are so many, but what he says is most important is breaking the silence if you suspect a loved one is addicted. "This right now seems to be the most important issue the community is facing and nobody seems to be able to get a grasp on who's at fault, or how we control it."
Lamar Advertising began this campaign in the Philadelphia market. Soon the bill boards will pop up in Rochester and Syracuse because the opioid epidemic knows know boundaries. More than 300,000 people are likely to have already seen one of the 13 Buffalo billboards that are running the messages.
"We're going to run it until it starts growing legs, we get our politicians talking about it, and our local municipalities," said Kiblin. "There's a lot of well known and famous people either in sports or in politics who have direct issues with opioid epidemic."
Here is the link to New York's Combat addiction website