The Indianapolis Colts are teaming up with the Indiana attorney general's office to raise awareness about what they called the state's epidemic of prescription drug abuse.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller, Colts Chief Operating Officer Pete Ward and former linebacker David Thornton announced the partnership at a Tuesday morning news conference, where they explained the partnership will provide an opportunity to get their message to a diverse -- and younger -- audience.
"Statistics show that the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs is not limited to a specific age group, gender, or economic class," Zoeller said in a news release. "Teaming up with the Colts and their professional athletes will allow us to focus public attention on this epidemic and the need to help those held in the grasp of pain and addiction."
The partnership will give the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force a presence during Colts games, at Colts special events and during Colts radio and TV programming.
The partnership will officially kick off with a Task Force booth at Colts training camp in Anderson.
According to the news release from the attorney general's office, the sponsorship was paid for by the Indiana Consumer Protection Settlement Fund.
More than 1,000 Hoosiers died in 2012 from prescription drug overdoses, according to numbers from the Indiana State Department of Health. In 2003, that number was 500.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Indiana is one of the top 10 states for narcotic drug prescriptions and 17th in the nation for drug-related deaths.