The National Association of Broadcasters is launching a campaign to address the opioid epidemic, with plans for public service announcements and commitments by stations to develop longform programming and special events like town hall meetings.
The campaign will run through the end of 2017.
At a press conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith called it a “public health crisis that is ravaging communities across our country.”
“It has led, or is leading to the deaths or despair of far too many American families,” he said.
NAB is teaming with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids on the campaign.
Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), who was among the lawmakers who spoke at the press conference, noted that there was a 44% increase in 44% heroin-caused deaths within two years in Arizona.
“It has affected every spectrum of American society,” he said.
Deaths from opioid abuse rose 248% between 2010 and 2014. Opioid addiction has soured in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 45% of people who used heroin were also addicted to prescription opioid painkillers.
At the press conference, NAB highlighted news coverage that local and network stations have already broadcast.
The campaign also includes the creation of an online toolkit for stations on facts about the epidemic and ideas for prevention and programming.