Thursday, August 3, 2017

Governor's office placing painted rocks with anti-drug messages around state to spark social-media attention to opioid epidemic

Rocks painted with anti-drug messages, in a vehicle console
Gov. Matt Bevin's office says it is putting painted rocks around the state to raise awareness about Kentucky's opioid epidemic and the governor's “Don’t Let Them Die” initiative to fight it. "Rocks for this campaign will initially be hidden in the Frankfort, Lexington and Louisville areas but the governor’s office hopes to have rocks placed in all 120 Kentucky counties within two weeks," the office said in a news release.

"Though this promotion is intended to be encouraging and fun, it seeks to raise awareness across the Commonwealth about a tragically serious epidemic," Bevin communications director Amanda Stamper said. "Last year, 1,404 Kentuckians died as a result of an opioid overdose. Gov. Bevin is committed to providing the policies and resources necessary to ensure we eradicate this scourge."

Stamper's news release said searches for painted rocks, "a form of hide-and-go-seek, is a new, wildly popular trend. The concept is simple: volunteers paint and decorate rocks, then place them for others to find. When one finds a painted rock they can photograph themselves with it and then post the photo to their social media outlet of choice. Finders are encouraged to then hide the rock for others to find. The goal is not to find and keep the rocks, but to make continue placing them for others to discover."

Bevin's office said it will promote the painted-rock campaign his new Instagram account and other social media. "In addition to decorative art, these rocks will include a brief message of encouragement and hope, as well as the URL, a website providing information about opioids, treatment options, and the overdose antidote, naloxone," the release said. "The 'Don’t Let Them Die' theme encourages Kentuckians to recognize the inherent value of human life – even in the grip of addiction – and take proactive steps to support their friends, family and communities as they overcome this crisis. Kentuckians can help spread the word by painting and hiding their own rocks with painted on the back and sharing on social media using hashtag #DLTD."

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