A mounting crisis of opioid abuse and drug-involved fatalities in New York City has claimed an ever greater number of lives each year since 2010, making overdose the leading cause of accidental death. Beginning in 2009, the city experienced an explosion in the supply of heroin and prescription narcotics on the black market. More recently, the opioid crisis has been greatly exacerbated by the emergence of plentiful supplies of synthetic opioids, such as illicitly produced fentanyl and chemically similar analogues. Potent and cheap to produce, fentanyl is commonly mixed with heroin and other substances, including cocaine. It is also pressed into counterfeit prescription pills sold as oxycodone and Xanax (a benzodiazepine).

The Spring 2020 Capstone project will focus on creating a multi-media prevention campaign targeting youth in grades 6-12 to educate about the opioid epidemic with an emphasis on healthy decision making. This project will build upon the work completed by the three previous Capstone teams , particularly the 2019 project. In creating an age-appropriate campaign, the Capstone team will examine prior campaigns to address the opioid crisis and other public health issues, and apply best practices on drug prevention, anti-stigma messaging and health communications.