EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION: ‘Unintended Pregnancy Project’ Hailed as Success in Colorado in March
In Colorado, the Boulder County Health Department is touting the success of its first-ever "Unintended Pregnancy Project," a "controversial" program to educate the community about emergency contraception -- the so-called "morning-after pill" -- and reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancies, the Colorado Daily reports. The program, launched in the last week of March, targeted the University of Colorado campus and University Hill communities. "Since we've evaluated the project, we consider it to be a great success," Allison Smith, the project's coordinator, said, adding, "We accomplished our goals of increasing awareness about emergency contraception, and we've created a model for an amazing collaborative -- we've demonstrated that this is a great way to get information to the community." The agency tracked responses to the advertising campaign -- a series of posters and wallet-sized information cards -- and analyzed the actual usage of the contraception to gauge the program's success. "We distributed a total of about 13,800 cards. We really reached a lot of people," Smith said. In addition to campus participation, nine area businesses joined the campaign, displaying posters and cards in their restrooms. Students and state residents took about 5,000 cards from participating businesses, with 44% taken by men. The agency also surveyed some of the women who received emergency contraception prescriptions during the seven-week program. According to the study, 50% of the women sought emergency contraception because of a broken condom, while more than one-third used the morning-after pill after unprotected sex. Overall, emergency contraception use skyrocketed during the program, with prescriptions in April 2000 doubling those in April 1999. "It can't all be attributed to the campaign, but it does show awareness is up," Smith concluded (Hill, Colorado Daily, 9/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.