Billboard campaign tackles drug abuse


Staff report



COLUMBUS — A new billboard campaign to raise public awareness about opiate abuse by encouraging public participation in drug use prevention and interdiction efforts has been launched by the Ohio Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio in partnership with Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

“Members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio are donating about 200 digital, poster, and bulletin billboards across the state with two simple messages: “Start Talking!” and “#677 for Impaired Drivers,” said Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio President Greg Churilla.

“Our association is pleased to partner with the state of Ohio, and do our part to help the state fight drug abuse and addiction,” he said.

To encourage adults to talk to children about the dangers of drug abuse, one of the images that will be displayed on billboards across the state promotes tips to keep kids drug free. Start Talking! is the state’s drug prevention program that provides parents, guardians, educators and community leaders with the tools to start the conversation about the importance of living healthy, drug-free lives. Research shows that children whose parents or other trusted adults talk with them about the risks of drugs are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who have not had those critical conversations.

In addition to Start Talking!, billboards will encourage Ohioans to call #677, which serves as a multi-purpose number for the public to report drug activity, impaired drivers and other highway safety concerns to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. When someone calls #677, the call is routed to the closest communications center and a trooper is dispatched to investigate the complaint.

Participating members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio include: Barnes Outdoor Advertising; Cleveland Outdoor; Kessler Signs; Key-Ads; Lamar Erie; Lamar Cincinnati; Lamar Youngstown; Lamar Toledo; Lamar Dayton; Lamar St. Clairsville; Lamar Columbus; Lamar Cleveland; Lammers Outdoor; Nauman Outdoor; Norton Outdoor Advertising; OUTFRONT Media; and Porter Advertising. Additionally, Kramer Graphics will be donating 20 poster displays to the effort.

“We are appreciative of this partnership that empowers Ohioans,” said Ohio Department of Public Safety Director John Born. “By using #677 on Ohio’s roads to report drug activity, you will be contributing to a safer Ohio.”

“The timing of this partnership couldn’t be better,” said Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director Tracy Plouck. “These billboards are a great reminder to families that holiday road trips are a perfect time to engage young people in meaningful conversations about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs.”

Staff report