Colorado’s Office of Behavioral Health launches public awareness campaign for opioid addiction |

Colorado’s Office of Behavioral Health launches public awareness campaign for opioid addiction

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at the launch of the state’s “Lift the Label” campaign on May 14, 2018. The program is aimed at reducing stigma around opioid addiction in an effort to encourage those in need to seek help. Hickenlooper was standing before an installation of empty prescription bottles representing the more than 42,000 people who died of opioid overdoses in 2016.
Jesse Paul / The Denver Post

The Colorado Department of Human Services’ Office of Behavioral Health has launched “Lift the Label,” a public awareness campaign to reduce stigma for individuals struggling with opioid addiction through education and stories from Coloradans in recovery. Around 200 people including Gov. John Hickenlooper are participating in the campaign to speak about the role stigma plays in the opioid crisis.

“We’re calling it ‘Lift the Label’ to help others take a closer look at how opioid addiction can affect anyone,” said Hickenlooper in a press release. “Rather than labeling or stigmatizing someone with opioid addiction, we need to offer support and access to treatment.”

In 2016, over 42,000 people lost their lives to opioid overdoses. To demonstrate the magnitude of the crisis, the Office of Behavioral Health also unveiled an opioid memorial wall. The wall stands 8 feet tall and 34 feet long and is constructed of 4,200 pill bottles; each pill bottle representing 10 Americans lost to heroin and prescription opioid overdoses in 2016. The opioid memorial wall is on display at the Capitol building in Denver through the end of May.

“Today our community came together to launch this campaign and tell the 67,000 Coloradans who say they need treatment but fear the label associated with asking for help that addiction can happen to anyone,” said Reggie Bicha, CDHS executive director. “We want Coloradans to know that we support them because they’re our family, our coworkers, our community leaders, our friends. If they’re ready to seek help, we’ve got their back.”

Through April 2019, Lift The Label will have continued presence on tv, digital video, digital ads and search engine marketing to increase awareness of opioid addiction as a mental health disorder, sharing what treatment options are available, and promoting the Colorado Crisis Services hotline and website.

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