This holiday season, the Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio is partnering with state agencies to donate billboards with messages geared toward combating the opioid epidemic and impaired drivers.
The Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio (OAAO), in partnership with the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, is giving back to the community this holiday season by donating 200-some billboards with messaging highlighting the state’s drug-prevention initiative called Start Talking!
Launched by Governor John R. Kasich, the program gives parents, guardians, educators, and community leaders the tools they need to talk to youth about opioid abuse. In 2016, more than 4,000 people in the state died from accidental drug overdoses. This topped a previous record from 2015, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health [PDF].
In addition to raising awareness of the opioid epidemic, OAAO is also using its billboards to encourage drivers to report aggressive behavior, drunk drivers, or drug activity by dialing #677.
“Members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio are donating about 200 digital, poster, and bulletin billboards across the state with two simple messages: ‘Start Talking!’ and ‘#677 for Impaired Drivers,’” OAAO President Greg Churilla said in a press release. “Our association is pleased to partner with the state of Ohio, and do our part to help the state fight drug abuse and addiction.”
The billboards launched just in time for the busy Thanksgiving travel season, and Churilla said they are spread through all of Ohio’s major markets—and many of its smaller ones, too. They’ll run for varying amounts of times throughout the year.
But this isn’t the first time that OAAO has given back. “The Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio has been around for many, many years, and we’ve done many campaigns throughout our existence,” Churilla said. Past campaigns have tackled topics ranging from elder abuse to texting and driving.
“We want to bring awareness to these situations throughout the state because as companies who operate here, most of our business comes from the state of Ohio,” Churilla said. “Our employees all live and work in Ohio. We hope we make some sort of impact.”