Recently, the Opioid Epidemic has been a hot topic for law-makers and pharmaceutical companies, with debate surrounding the restrictions placed on prescription opioids and drugs. While adults may be informed of the recent escalation in drug overdoses, teens and young adults were unaware that this was an issue in the U.S. I remember finding an article in my news feed one day, and reading the statistics involved in the epidemic- I was shocked and wanted to know if students at Stone Hill were also informed on this topic. This is what kick-started our idea for an awareness campaign.

What it does

We have well-researched information and statistics from official databases that help support our cause, and have implemented this data in our website. We have multiple aspects of the Opioid Epidemic, helped to increase the outreach of drug abuse, addiction, and preventative information within the county, and Included links for donation purposes and helpline information.

How we built it

We created our website using CSS and the HTML language, on the replit platform, We found a variety of resources that were particularly helpful towards our awareness project. We implemented information into our products from many educational and government websites, such as the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources & Services Administration. These websites contained easy-to-understand information relating to opioid basics and the ongoing opioid epidemic. They also provided many in-depth facts and statistics, which proved to be helpful in our digital products. We condensed all of the information in all of these sources to create the best outreach possible for the young adults in our community.

Challenges we ran into

During the process of finishing our code, none of our images, links, or text features worked properly, and that was the main difficulty we faced. In order to resolve that issue, we logged into our other backup code, which saved us from having to recreate the code. We also had a problem with not knowing how to obtain the images, which was really frustrating for us. However, with the assistance of our mentors, we were able to obtain all the images we required.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Multiple accomplishments were achieved in this project, but the ones we were most proud of were the aesthetic aspects. We were also pleased with the information we added to our project, which was in-depth and meaningful. Also, the whole format of the code took a long time to figure out, but we managed to make it look neat, clean, and professional.

What we learned

Along the way, we acquired many skills in order to effectively deliver our information to our target audience. First, we had to do our research, so we could be credible. By talking to professionals in the pharmaceutical industry and checking scientific studies and databases, we learned there are many reasons why one would start taking these drugs. Some reasons included: pain-relief after surgical procedures, serious sports injuries, or cancer. We learned that in some cases, where patients get addicted to these medicines and don't have access to them, they resort to street drugs to achieve a “high” feeling. This is a serious problem since these illegally produced drugs could be laced with fentanyl, a drug that is fatal in large doses.

What's next for Opioid Epidemiology

To carry out action on educating the young community about the opioid epidemic, we will create a variety of products including well-researched and vibrant websites that provide data and prevention techniques, as well as posters, multiple public service announcements, and possibly even raise charity funds to help those who have suffered the consequences of an overdose of opioids. Finally, we will create and distribute our final products to raise awareness in the Loudoun County community on the opioid epidemic.

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