Broadcasters unite to fight heroin, prescription drug addiction

CDC: 45 percent who use heroin were addicted to prescription painkillers

HOUSTON – Broadcasters across the country will join forces to address heroin and prescription drug abuse, which has soared in recent years.

On Monday, the National Association of Broadcasters announced it has teamed up with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids for an effort by both national and local broadcasters to deter opioid abuse.

"The CDC does not toss around the term epidemic lightly they have called this current wave of prescription drug heroin use an epidemic," Marcia Lee Taylor, president and CEO of Partnership For Drug-Free Kids.

Earlier this year,  Congress reached out to NAB for help to stem this crisis.

"It has affected every spectrum of American society if we're going to affect it effectively it will be through program as NAB has inaugurated today," said Arizona Senator John McCain.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 45 percent of people who use heroin were also addicted to prescription opioid painkillers, and 2,500 youth abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time every day.

The effort will include public service announcements, special news reports and online resources aimed at curbing the spike in opioid deaths.

"As first informers in times of crisis, broadcasters understand the power of the public airwaves to educate Americans about dangers affecting their lives," said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. "Today, we are pledging those airwaves and other resources to combating an epidemic that has touched the lives of millions of our citizens."

Between 2010 and 2014, deaths from opioid abuse have increased by 248 percent, according to the CDC. Seventy-eight Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.