The Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition is a group of local substance prevention coalition, including Team Medford, that is funded through the Massachusetts Opiate Abuse Prevention Collaborative Grant, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, has launched phase II of an ongoing Stigma Campaign.
The campaign #StigmaPreventsChange has been running since November of 2015. The overarching goal is to remove the stigma associated with opioid addiction, and to offer encouragement, support and hope so people feel comfortable seeking the help they need and know that recovery is possible.
Phase I consisted of two Public Service Announcements being shown at Revere and Woburn Cinemas for a total of 8 weeks, along with social media components and showings of the PSAs at regional and local meetings. The coalition recorded a radio PSA that is currently running on Pandora radio in the region targeting listeners by zip code. The message is that stigma is a barrier to seeking treatment; the community must remove stigma associated with substance use to help create change and improve the health of our community.
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The goal of Phase II is to inform the community that people recover in different ways. Outdoor media will run on MBTA buses throughout Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, Reading, Winchester and Wakefield. In addition there will be transit posters on rail platforms in West Medford, Wedgemere, Melrose/Cedar Park, Winchester, Wakefield, and Reading sharing the message “Recovery from Substance Use Disorder has More Than One Path”. The advertisement will run from May through the end of June.
Massachusetts has also taken an official stance against the terrible stigma associated with addiction to opioids and has launched a campaign that the coalition fully supports. #StateWithoutStigMA, www.mass.gov/statewithoutstigma. To show support the coalition filmed a short video spot on May 9th, announcing support for the campaign. This video has been submitted to the state and will air on WCVB-TV May 19th ..
Another important piece of our campaign will be a Regional Youth Summit at which youth leaders in our respective communities will come together to learn and share action plans about reducing stigma. The Youth Summit is Saturday, June 11th, at AC Marriott Hotel at 95 Station Landing, Medford.
Local representatives and stakeholders have been invited to attend the summit to hear the youth present their communities’ individualized action plans on how they will continue to address substance use disorder and reduce stigma of the disease.
The coalition needs your support as it is critical to continuing to address stigma and substance use disorders. It is a community wide issue that will continue to require each of us to pay attention, provide support and hope, use correct language, and educate people that substance use disorder is a disease that can be treated.