The National Safety Council (NSC) made Pittsburgh its first stop on a nationwide tour of an exhibit honoring opioid victims after a rapid increase in accidental deaths.
The memorial exhibit is part of the organization’s Stop Everyday Killers campaign, a national movement to educate Americans about the risks of taking opioids and put a face on the thousands killed from prescription opioid overdose.
"The Stop Everyday Killers campaign brings people face to face with the crisis that has taken far too many friends and family members in Pennsylvania," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, NSC president and CEO, in a statement. "One in four has been directly impacted by opioids, but we all can play a role in saving lives. The memorial encourages consumers to do two simple things: talk with their health care providers about opioids and clean out their medicine cabinets."
Federal data analysis from the NSC showed a 15 percent year-over-year increase accidental deaths in Pennsylvania in 2016 from 2015. Opioid abuse contributed to 78 percent of accidental deaths in the state.
The mobile exhibit, titled “Prescribed to Death”, features a wall of 22,000 white pills symbolizing the number of Americans who died because of prescription opioid overdose in 2015. A face carved into each of the pills memorializes a victim of the nationwide opioid crisis.
Visitors to the display receive opioid labels for their insurance and pharmacy cards in an effort to prompt a critical conversation between patients and prescribers about risks and possible alternatives.
The exhibit made an unofficial debut in Chicago in November 2017 before the current U.S. tour began. More information about tour locations can be found at the NSC website.