When the Nationwide Foundation was doing research for a campaign that could help respond to the opioid crisis gripping central Ohio, it found that, although the majority of Americans know we’re in the midst of an opiate crisis, less than 20 percent believe the risk threatens their family.
Opioid abuse and misuse does not discriminate, and no one is immune to the devastation it causes.
“That household accountability is the needle we want to move,” said Chad Jester, President of Nationwide Foundation.
Denial, Ohio, a media campaign that launched in 2018, focuses on education and prevention. The campaign highlights the importance of adults talking to kids about drugs as well as the need to secure medications and dispose of unneeded prescriptions.
“You can reduce a child’s risk of substance abuse by 50 percent by talking to them, but it’s multiple conversations over time,” Chad said. And while most people know it’s not safe to keep unused prescription medications in their home, few have taken steps to safely discard them.
“Our hope is the Alliance serves as a catalyst to bring other organizations to the table and ultimately save lives.”
— Chad Jester, President, Nationwide Foundation
The creation of Denial, Ohio fulfilled one of the goals of the Franklin County Opiate Action Plan, a dynamic community- wide blueprint developed by the Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County (ADAMH) at the direction of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther to address the crisis. The Nationwide Foundation provided the initial funding for the creative work.
Recognizing this as a community issue, and that more voices could reach more families and individuals, the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance (OOEA) was formed in 2018. A coalition of more than 80 business, education, nonprofit, civic, and government organizations and associations, OOEA’s main goal is working together to prevent the next generation of young people from misusing and abusing prescription opioids. More than $8 million has been donated to support Alliance efforts.
“At heart, central Ohio is collaborative by nature,” Chad said. “Anything that is this impactful to our community and our state should be done in collaboration. We all have resources and assets to bring to the table.”
In 2018, the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance Fund was established at The Columbus Foundation to support the work of the alliance as it expands across the state. A growing number of investors are supporting the fund, providing valuable financial resources that will enable the alliance to move this work forward.
“The Columbus Foundation and ADAMH were already working together on opioid initiatives in the community,” Chad explained. “We were able to build on the work that was already taking place.”