Students from Douglas County win anti-opioid video contest

Students from the Douglas County College and Career Institute are the winners of the “We’re Not Gonna Take It” video contest.


The contest is a chance for Georgia students to make PSA video and audio clips related to the opioid crisis, which will be aired on television and radio stations across the state.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, citing CDC statistics, reported that Georgia had 918 opioid overdose deaths in 2016 and 1,394 drug overdose deaths overall. But those figures could be underreported.

State Attorney General Chris Carr, who announced the winners, says that last year, an average of four Georgians died per day from opioid-related overdoses.

The name “opioid” means “like opium.” Opioids are a group of drugs — some natural and some synthetic, some illegal and some used for medical treatment of pain — that work on certain brain receptors and can be highly addictive.

The contest, which began Feb. 1, is open to high school and college students enrolled at a Georgia-based school. This year, the contest was looking for submissions that “highlighted the dangers, risks and consequences associated with opioid misuse and abuse, that availability of resources and/or the 911 Medical Amnesty and Expanded Naloxone Access Law.” Video and radio submissions were accepted.

Chancellor Newsome, MaKayla Tappin, Casson Thompson and Jace Swafford created the winning video, which focused on the effects of teen use of opioids, under the guidance of an instructor, Nicole Oliver Rivers.

Douglas County CCI, established in 2009, is a joint venture between the high schools in Douglas County, West Georgia Technical College and the Douglas County Chamber of Commerce. The goal is integrating “core academics and advanced career/technical education programs, thereby encouraging high school students to achieve at a high level and to seamlessly begin to pursue post-secondary studies.”

In 2016, the CCI offered full-time enrollment for students for the first time, and 204 students applied and 60 ninth-graders were chosen by a lottery process.

“A good storyteller captures their audience, stimulating their emotions, while leaving them with something to think about,” said Gary Morris, principal of the Douglas County school. “In the words of Pablo Picasso, ‘action is the foundational key to all success.’ This group of students has stepped up and taken action to deliver a meaningful and powerful message that illustrates the dangers, risks and consequences associated with opioid misuse and abuse.”

Students at Bainbridge High School received the first runner-up prize, followed by students at Gainesville High School, whose video was second runner-up.

“The Office of the Attorney General and our partners want to thank all students who submitted entries for the ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ video contest,” said Carr in a statement. “It is critically important that we continue to engage our youth as we work to strengthen our state’s response to the opioid epidemic, and we want to congratulate the students of the Douglas County College and Career Institute, Bainbridge High School and Gainesville High School for their leadership, dedication and creativity.”

In sponsoring the contest, the Office of the Attorney General partnered with the Georgia Association of Broadcasters, the Healthcare Distributors Alliance, the Medical Association of Georgia’s “Think About It” campaign, the Georgia Pharmacy Association, the Kennesaw State Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery, the Georgia Prevention Project, the Council on Alcohol and Drugs, and the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse for the contest.

Below is a link to the winning video.

Naomi Thomas is a recent graduate of UGA’s master’s degree program in Journalism. She received her undergraduate degree in Media, Communication and Cultures from Leeds Metropolitan University and has an interest in health workforce stories. Her twitter handle is @nrthomas123.