Campaign aims to remove stigma from opioid addiction
The Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition’s Opioid Abuse Collaborative announces its Anti-Stigma Campaign: #StigmaPreventsChange. The campaign includes PSA video, outdoor ads, social media and other online components. Its goal is to remove the stigma associated with opioid addiction, and offer encouragement so people will feel more comfortable seeking the help they need.
Many people in Massachusetts are dealing with the effects of opioid addiction. In the Mystic Valley (which includes Malden, Medford, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham and Wakefield) families have been hit hard by this epidemic. In 2013, during a comprehensive assessment on the opioid crisis in the Mystic Valley, it was identified that stigma was a leading barrier to change. Users were treated so badly, even in places where they were seeking help, that they felt isolated and alone which pushed them further into their addiction. Families who had a loved one suffering from addiction were also isolated and treated negatively by places of trust in their community.
Much has changed since 2013. Statewide attention has been paid to this crisis and media coverage has increased, however we still find stigma against the user, their family and the disease of addiction to be pervasive in our local communities. No one should be shamed for any chronic disease, be it medical or mental health related. People suffering with substance use disorder should be treated with respect and dignity while in the throes of their addiction or in their path to recovery.
The #StigmaPreventsChange Public Service messages produced by the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition address broad issues related to stigma. First, you cannot tell who is suffering from this crisis… there is not a face or type of person who can be stereotyped by this disease. Second, words and how you speak to people matter. Negative words can force someone to stay deep in their addiction and ensure that they do not seek help, putting them at an increased risk for an overdose. Over the course over the next year two more PSAs will be aired as a part of this campaign series.
Stigma is a barrier to seeking treatment; we must remove stigma associated with substance use to help create change and improve the health of our community.
The PSAs entitled “2 Out Of 10” and “Encouragement” will be shown online, in local movie theaters and on TV. They can be viewed directly below:
2 out of 10
For further information, please contact Penny Funaiole, Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition Opioid Abuse Prevention Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (781) 393-2560.