Campaign to combat teen opioid abuse shares true stories of struggles

Suzanne Monaghan
November 26, 2018 - 4:00 am
A campaign to combat teen opiod abuse shares true stories of the struggle of addiction, withdrawal and treatment.

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — An opioid awareness campaign from Truth Initiative and the Ad Council gives a face-to-face look at addiction, withdrawal and recovery. Part of the Truth About Opioids program details, in a video, one young woman's journey.  

26-year-old Rebekka's story is difficult to watch but too compelling to turn away from.

"They say that you make a conscious decision to get high and do drugs. But I didn't know, I trusted my doctor to take care of me and make me better," she said in the video. 

Her story is like many others.  

Rebekka was a young specialized athlete, practicing dance and gymnastics. When she was 14, she hurt her ankle and her doctor prescribed opioids.   

"The number of opioids that are being prescribed to young individuals under 18 is extraordinary. They are often sports injuries," said Truth Initiative CEO Robin Koval.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports nearly 80 percent of heroin users started with prescription opioids.  

Koval says young people relate to stories not statistics, which is part of why they decided to take viewers behind the scenes of Rebekka's withdrawal, sharing the private moments of the process in a video airing on television and online.  

"This isn't just happening to other people over there, whoever you think that is. It's happening to your friends, it's happening in your neighborhood and it can happen to you," Koval added.