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2017 Annual Meeting

September 12–14, 2017

Aurora, Colorado

The links below contained detailed information for the upcoming 2017 Safe States Alliance Annual Meeting, taking place September 12-14, 2017 in Aurora, Colorado.

Please note:

Stop the Opidemic Media Campaign

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 8:00 AM–9:15 AM MDT
Conference Room 6
Learning Objectives

In this session, participants will:

  1. Identify key opioid-related public awareness strategies.
  2. Recognize public awareness messaging by the stages of prevention.  
  3. Evaluate the effectiveness of campaign messaging.
Statement of Purpose

 Although Utah has seen a slight decrease in prescription opioid deaths, heroin related deaths have increased.  In response, Utah launched a media campaign focusing on opioid risks, signs of an overdose, and naloxone called "Stop the Opidemic" (


With an increase in heroin and synthetic opioid related deaths, there was an immediate need to expand public awareness messaging and educate the public on the risks of all opioids (prescription and illicit), signs of an opioid overdose and naloxone.

An immediate need to expand public awareness messaging and educate the public on the risks of all opioids (prescription and illicit), signs of an opioid overdose and naloxone allowed us to leverage resources to obtain state funding to develop a media campaign focusing on all opioids.  Non-traditional and traditional media components were used to create a bold, hard hitting campaign that initiated conversations around opioid risks, increased awareness on the signs of an opioid overdose, and changed attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors surrounding naloxone.


One of the most unique and effective components of the campaign were powerful and personal videos and stories of Utahns and their experience with opioids.  A total of eleven testimonials were produced.  The personal stories are used on social media, YouTube pre-rolls, trainings and presentations throughout the state to pharmacists, doctors, dentists, and the general public.  Web and social media analytics showed over 2.5 million views for the testimonial videos.  In addition, an initiative encouraging the public to engage in discussions with their pharmacist on opioid risks, signs of an overdose, and naloxone provided an opportunity to engage pharmacists in prevention efforts.  A toolkit with materials and talking points were developed for pharmacists in addition to a sticker they could place on top of opioid prescriptions alerting customers of opioid risks.  Several pharmacy chains and independent pharmacies participated and the press conference generated over $20,000 of local market publicity value and a viewership of 274,302 through print and media reports.

Conclusions & Significance to the Field

The campaign was strategically launched during Utah’s first Heroin and Prescription Opioid Summit which brought together multidisciplinary stakeholders.  The name of the campaign, “Stop the Opidemic”, was a focus of the summit and created an atmosphere of collaboration in the state ensuring an understanding that the approach to the opioid epidemic should be multifaceted and comprehensively and cohesively addressed by multiple partners.


Anna Fondario, Utah Department of Health

Anna Fondario, MPH, Epidemiology Manager, has worked in the Utah Department of Health Violence and Injury Prevention Program since 2005. She holds a MPH in Epidemiology and Social and Behavioral Sciences from Boston University and a BS in Biology and Secondary Education from the University of South Carolina.   She manages prescription drug overdose prevention activities in Utah and serves as chair of the Utah Coalition for Opioid Overdose Prevention, a multi-agency coalition focused on reducing opioid abuse, misuse, and overdose deaths. 


Primary Contact

Anna Fondario, Utah Department of Health