Message for Hope

Contest Winners

Nevaeh H. - Dear Diary

First Place

Reona C. - Peer Pressure

Second Place

Eric K. - I Know a Person

Third Place


The Opioid Epidemic continues to devastate communities in pandemic proportions everywhere, especially here in Western Pennsylvania.Overdose deaths in our area are among one of the highest in the country. Although overdose deaths have made a recent decline in our area, reported overdose rates and continued addiction to substance abuse have not! This is a public health crisis that knows no demographic barriers, and we must do all that we can to EDUCATE each other about these dangers, and HELP all who are suffering (including friends and family members!)


#messageforhope is a writing contest for Pittsburgh Public school students in 6th-8th grade.  Students are encouraged to submit creative and innovative ways to raise awareness about the dangers of self-medication and substance use disorder to promote safer and healthier ways to cope with stressors in their lives.

 Students were asked to create original stories using the following prompts:

  • -Relieve boredom/curiosity  (I wonder what will happen if I try) 
  • -Peer pressure/social status (Trying to Fit In With a Specific Crowd, Make Friends, Keep Friends)
  • -Ease pain physical, psychological, due to severe trauma/mental illness (Trying to forget about a negative event that has happened in the past)
  • -Academic stressors (Pressure to perform, pressure to get good grades, pressure to be the best at something)
  • -Permissive environment, family/domestic stressors (Stressors involving family, neighborhood, community)