A Battle Worth Fighting

Pennsylvania Public Media

How do you promote hope and reduce stigma in one of the states hardest-hit by the opioid epidemic?

In a state plagued by one of the highest opioid overdose death rates in the nation, Pennsylvania’s public media stations tapped SteegeThomson to promote Battling Opioids, an unprecedented collaboration aimed at reducing the stigma of opioid use disorder and connecting those in need to local resources.

We created the brand, a website, social media platforms, and digital and outdoor advertising. We also conducted strategic media outreach and helped to fill a calendar of public screening events statewide. Perhaps most importantly, our award-winning, multi-platform strategy helped to raise the profile of public media as key conveners around matters of local importance, creating a presence at the nation’s largest Recovery Walk, organizing a Recovery Week event for legislators at the state capitol, and producing a panel at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women. As a result, Pennsylvania PBS grew its annual funding from the Pennsylvania legislature appreciably, and has retained it. As of 2021, the Battling Opioids program is in its fourth year.

We continued to keep the dialogue going in social media. A “Hope for the Holidays: Families, Opioids and Recovery” Twitter chat brought together a dozen prominent recovery advocacy organizations, academics, people in recovery, and their families, engaging around questions including “How can the holidays be difficult for families dealing with substance use disorders?” and “How can family members create a recovery-friendly holiday environment for their loved ones?” The one-hour chat generated more than 11,000 impressions, grew Battling Opioids’ Twitter following by 37 percent, and provided a wealth of resources for people in recovery and their loved ones.