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Drug-abuse prevention campaign to be tested in Cincinnati
Purdue Pharma, the maker of the painkiller Oxycontin, will roll out an advertising campaign in Cincinnati that seeks to educate teen-agers about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs.

The "painfully obvious" campaign is being tested in Cincinnati, where it will be kicked off Nov. 28 at the YMCA University Branch in Clifton.

The messages use graphic references to "explosive diarrhea, projectile vomit and spastic shaking" to describe the side effects of prescription drug abuse.

Ads target middle and high school students, warning them that drug abuse can embarrass them and isolate them from their peers.

"Teens may assume that prescription drugs are safe to use recreationally since they are produced under controlled conditions and approved for medical use," said Pamela Bennett, director of advocacy at Stamford, Conn.-based Purdue Pharma. "What they need to realize is that ... what is safe for a patient under a doctor's care may be dangerous for another person."

Purdue Pharma came under criticism in the past year as more people started to abuse Oxycontin, whose illegal use in eastern Kentucky has led to numerous arrests and drug raids.

Although hard numbers are not available, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported in April that non-medical use of prescription drugs is increasing among teens age 12 to 17.

Campaign materials will be made available to teachers and prevention organizations. Public service and radio announcements will also be a part of the effort to educate teens. Ads will air on WIZF (100.9) and WKSF (107.1) because of their reach with the 12 to 18 age group.

Cincinnati, as well as Philadelphia, southern West Virginia and West Palm Beach, Fla., are the four regions testing out the campaign.

Marketing firm Northcastle Partners and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America are partners with Purdue Pharma in the anti-drug advertising effort.


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