Florida Public Health Review

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Though expanding in negative impact for decades, the opioid epidemic, including heroin use, has reached public health emergency status in the United States. Heroin is not used only by the most intense drug users, but becoming more common place (Hirschfeld Davis, 2017). It is essential to better understand how young adults perceive heroin prevention, intervention, and treatment so the most effective campaign messages can be constructed to assist them. This paper presents data from four focus groups (N=24) in Orlando, Florida to better gauge young adult knowledge regarding heroin and obtain specific recommendations to successfully inform future messaging. Results suggest social media platforms are preferred channels for information dissemination, and both sources and formats of information vary based on message intention (i.e., prevention, intervention, treatment). Individuals with heroin-related experiences (e.g., family members) and physicians are preferred sources, and participants indicated statistical information, immersive testimonial stories, and brief videos are their preferred formats. Overall, results indicate social media platforms may represent a fruitful pathway for heroin-related messaging to young adults.