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As Overdose Crisis Continues, Pennsylvania Extends Innovative Campaign To Promote Naloxone Use and Combat Stigma

Emotional testimonials that fight stigma about drug use have generated 24 million impressions to date 

Harrisburg, PA—As the overdose crisis continues to devastate families and communities in Pennsylvania and nationally, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is extending their real-world testimonial ad campaign to highlight naloxone as a lifesaving harm reduction strategy. Pennsylvania tragically lost 5,347 people to overdose in 2021. The ad campaign will continue airing through August 2023.   

“Anyone can save a life by administering naloxone to a person who is experiencing an opioid overdose,” said Acting Health Secretary Dr. Debra Bogen. “I encourage Pennsylvanians to obtain naloxone from a pharmacy, community give away event, mail, or other sources—and learn how to give it. You never know when you could save the life of a stranger neighbor, friend, or family member.”   

“The overdose emergency we are experiencing in this country is largely preventable, and we know that making naloxone widely available is an effective strategy to reducing deaths,” said Daliah Heller, Vice President for Drug Use Initiatives at Vital Strategies. “We applaud the Department of Health for continuing this moving ad campaign, featuring Pennsylvanians touched by this crisis, who disseminate naloxone and offer critical information, hope, and dignity for people who use drugs.” 

The campaign features stories from five people who have been affected by substance use to emphasize why everyone should get naloxone today. The novel real-world testimonial approach of the ads also works to counter stigma around drug use that may keep people who use drugs from seeking support. The 2023 campaign builds on the original Department of Health ad campaign that ran throughout the summer of 2022. The 2022 campaign generated over 24 million impressions. Campaign materials were developed in collaboration with public health organization Vital Strategies.   

This Department of Health campaign is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Overdose Data to Action cooperative agreement and will run on TV and radio stations such as Spectrum, WQED and PAB as well as digital ads on Hulu, Centro, Pandora, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and more. The campaign is projected to have over 76 million impressions. 

The campaign complements recent efforts by the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), Department of Aging and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to increase access to naloxone throughout Pennsylvania. These efforts include a naloxone standing order to support the distribution of naloxone via community-based organizations and pharmacies, a mail-order naloxone program, support for co-pays around naloxone offered through the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, and a program to provide naloxone to first responders.  

For more information on naloxone in Pennsylvania, please visit   

About Vital Strategies’ Overdose Prevention Program      

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our overdose prevention program works to strengthen and scale up evidence-based, data-driven policies and interventions to create equitable and sustainable reductions in overdose deaths. Work across seven U.S. States is supported by funding from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Overdose Prevention Initiative, launched in 2018, and by targeted investments from other partners.    

Learn more at
A Philadelphia Ad Campaign for a Drug Overdose Medication Hopes to Save Lives
By Tanya Christian
June 15, 2022

Media Contacts    
Tony Newman; 646-335-5384  
Gloria Malone