State backs #ProtectYourBrain campaign and other campus anti-opioid efforts

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 9) Students at a campus in a county pounded by the opioid epidemic will soon start seeing, over and over again, a social-media-friendly message: #ProtectYourBrain.

Sometimes used in reference to sports-related concussions, the hashtag will now be an important part of an anti-drug-abuse push at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, recipient Wednesday of one of 13 state grants for opioid prevention programs at post-secondary institutions.

“It doesn’t say, ‘Don’t do opioids.’ It’s not a don’t-do message,” said Erick Lauber, director of community health and leadership at IUP’s Mid-Atlantic Research and Training Institute for Community and Behavioral Health. Negative messages don’t work well, he said. “It’s a think-long-term-and-protect-your-brain message.”

Gov. Tom Wolf’s office and the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs announced the prevention grants to colleges and universities, totaling nearly $1 million. No school got more than $100,000, and IUP received $99,889. Read more.