Enough is Enough: Arizona newspaper takes action against a drug crisis in its community.

Author:Mateos, Evelyn
Position:The A section - Prescott News Network

After two teenage boys died from an overdose of fentanyl last November in Prescott Valley, Ariz., the Prescott News Network decided that enough was enough and decided to launch the "Stop Fentanyl Now" campaign. The Prescott News Network publishes 10 newspapers including the Prescott Daily Courier, Prescott Valley Tribune and Chino Valley Review.

According to Tim Wiederaenders, senior news editor for Prescott News Network, the boys, who were well-known athletes in the community, took what they believed was pure Percocet, but the pills were actually laced with fentanyl.

"We've now seen at least three people who've died in our community because of fentanyl," Wiederaenders said. "How many more people need to die before they make this a deterrent?"

So, in November, the Daily Courier ran a community call to action on its front page featuring a large black box that read "Our Children Are Dying" in large letters. The newsroom was inspired by the IndyStar's 2015 front page design about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which also included a large black box and the words "Fix This Now" in large text.

"We've basically made the promise that if you're a dealer and you're going to sell this kind of stuff to our kids and you get caught, we're going to promise you a spot on our front page," Wiederaenders explained.

The campaign aims to not simply report the facts, but to tackle all angles of the crisis and support a call for legislation. In addition, parent company of the Daily Courier, Western News & Info, Inc, donated $10,000 to Yavapai Silent Witness, an organization...

To continue reading