The Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation) has announced the launch of “Someone You Know,” a multimedia campaign focused on reducing the stigma of opioid misuse and inspiring hope in people seeking help with addiction and recovery.
The campaign will feature a mix of print and outdoor advertising, personal videos, and print stories from people affected by opioid misuse, such as men and women in active recovery, a mother who lost her son to an opioid overdose, and a grandmother raising her granddaughter while her son gets treatment. The campaign, which will be seen throughout the five-county southeastern Pennsylvania region, will also include community events, an informational website for individuals seeking information about treatment, and robust social media engagement. “Someone You Know” will culminate in a national conference, hosted by the Foundation in October, that will showcase all the stories, as well as an expert discussion about opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery.
“Through bold, direct, and highly personal stories, we hope to raise public awareness that substance misuse is not a problem that people should be ashamed to discuss, and to let those who are struggling know that there are people out there going through the exact same thing and turning around their lives,” said Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation. “With simple and inspiring messages like ‘Someone you know is overcoming opioid addiction, you can too,’ we hope to help remove the stigma that often prohibits people from seeking help and starting on the path to recovery.”
“Too often we hear that stigma around substance use disorder leaves people feeling isolated and can keep them out of treatment. Addiction is a disease and, like any other medical condition, people with a substance use disorder deserve compassion and support as they take steps towards recovery,” said Jennifer Smith, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. “We must all work to change the conversation around addiction so people seeking treatment and living in recovery feel safe, supported, and empowered. This campaign is an important, much needed step towards breaking this stigma.”
In addition to this campaign, the Foundation is collaborating with the Justice Center for Research at Penn State University to share additional stories of addiction and recovery to reduce the shame often associated with opioid misuse.
Approximately 1,600 people in southeastern Pennsylvania died in 2016 from an opioid overdose. In Philadelphia alone, there were more than 1,200 overdose deaths in 2017 and 14,000 people are currently in treatment for opioid dependence.
The Foundation, through its Supporting Treatment and Overdose Prevention (STOP) initiative, is increasing awareness about the opioid epidemic and improving access to opioid abuse prevention and treatment in southeastern PA through a variety of strategies and regional partnerships, such as:
- Enabling Community Partners: Supporting treatment and prevention programs, including the Moyer Foundation’s Camp Mariposa – a national addiction prevention and mentoring program for children affected by a family member’s substance abuse.
- Emergency Room “Warm Handoff” Programs: Evaluating the effectiveness of the warm handoff protocol, a state mandate that aims to connect a drug overdose survivor with an immediate referral to addiction treatment. The Foundation’s research will strengthen warm handoff programs in the SEPA region and provide recommendations for best practices and a replicable, scalable model nationally.
- Prescription Drug Take-Back Programs: Supporting the Pennsylvania Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs efforts to increase availability, awareness, and accessibility to drug take-back locations. Since the program began in 2015, the Commonwealth has collected and destroyed more than 300,000 pounds of drugs. In 2017, the Foundation partnered with Walgreens to add 10 more safe medication kiosks in our area. People will be able to safely dispose their medications at kiosks that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
About the Independence Blue Cross Foundation:
The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is a charitable, private foundation, whose mission is leading solutions for a healthier community. The Foundation targets the following areas of impact:
- Securing the Blue Safety Net: Strengthening the safety net of private, nonprofit health centers that provide access to quality, affordable health care in medically underserved areas.
- Bolstering the Health Care Workforce: Advancing the nursing workforce through education and professional development.
- Addressing Health Priorities: Finding local solutions to national health issues through research and cross-sector partnerships. Currently focusing on the opioid epidemic through the Supporting Treatment and Overdose Prevention (STOP) initiative.
- Building Healthier Communities: Enabling nonprofits to address diverse community health and wellness needs.