Background: According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, New Hampshire (NH) ranks one of the highest states in the country for illicit drug use, (other than marijuana), among 18 - 25 year olds. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, from 2002 - 2015 there was a 5.9-fold increase in the total number of U.S. overdose deaths involving heroin and non-methadone synthetics. NH was, and is, facing unprecedented rates of opioid use, leading to the Declaration of a Public Health Emergency by the Governor in 2015.
Program background: The NH Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS) contracted with JSI to develop an opioid public awareness campaign to educate the public about addiction, emergency overdose medication and accessibility to support services for those experiencing opioid addiction. This campaign was designed to help anyone affected by this crisis including: people experiencing addiction; parents, family and friends of those experiencing addiction; health care, safety, and others working with people who may be experiencing addiction; and those most at risk of overdose and death. Specifically, the objectives of the public awareness campaign were to increase awareness about:
- the prevalence of opioid use problem in NH;
- the benefits and availability of naloxone as a rescue drug in the event of overdose;
- the legal protections covered by the Good Samaritan law; and
- treatment and recovery services available in NH.
Evaluation Methods and Results: Impact of the media campaign and JSI activities were measured after by: materials distributed; number of community events held; number of naloxone kits distributed; number of inquiries to 211 on opioids; activity on and traffic to the NH Alcohol and Drug Treatment Locator site (nhtreatment.org) and AnyoneAnytimeNH.org; owned media/organic social media activity on Facebook and Twitter, and AOAT searches on DrugFreeNH.org; and impressions, reach and frequency of paid media. A final evaluation report will be completed by April 30, 2017.
Conclusions: Implementing a social marketing campaign with a call to action, a connection to resources, that utilizes the self-efficacy theory, theory of reasoned action, and the exchange theory, allowed for comprehensive key messages and was successfully designed to reach those most affected by the opioid crisis.
Implications for research and/or practice: This targeted campaign demonstrated that it could address a highly stigmatized topic, to a diverse set of target audiences, and stand out in a national conversation within a smaller population. The Anyone.Anytime.NH™ Campaign could be tested, replicated or adapted by another entity.