Governor Charlie Baker held a press conference this morning to announce the launch of the Commonwealth’s latest campaign to combat the opioid epidemic: State without StigMA, or #StateWithoutStigMA. This emotionally moving campaign features Massachusetts residents who have struggled with addiction and its stigma, and are in recovery.
The stigma of substance abuse hurts those who live with the disease, as well as their families. Anthony and Stephanie tell their stories about how stigma made seeking treatment and care difficult, while Stephanie’s mother recalls how the stigma and judgment of others makes it difficult for those struggling with addiction to believe in themselves. The website features the stories of Anthony, Sue, Stephanie, Mike, and Cotto in radio spots and videos.
The campaign aims to educate everyone about the negative impact of stigma, and how addiction is a disease like others conditions including diabetes and arthritis. And in the same way that treatment can help someone with diabetes, treatment also works for those living with substance abuse.
The campaign hits home with the message that “Recovery is possible.” It encourages people to show understanding and compassion, and support those who struggle with addiction and work to stay in recovery.
Surrounded by people in recovery, including students from the Ostiguy Recovery High School, Governor Baker and EOHHS Secretary Marylou Sudders talked about the high toll opioid addiction has taken in Massachusetts and how the campaign meets a key recommendation of the Governor’s Opioid Working Group’s report.
In addition to social media, radio, and billboards, watch for banners supporting #StateWithoutStigMA on municipal buildings across Massachusetts. One of the towns that will proudly be flying the banner is Taunton, whose Mayor spoke at the press conference about the town’s multi-strategy response to the opioid epidemic. Mayor Hoye told the story of the town’s resilience and the collective effort to “create positive headlines” in the wake of overdoses and deaths.
This campaign asks YOU to get involved. You can take the pledge to support a #StateWithoutStigMA, and there are multiple ways to show your support on social media. You can also nominate someone to be a #StateWithoutStigMA champion, and a new champion will be featured each month.
Stigma hurts. Treatment works. Recovery is possible. Find treatment services on the Helpline website or call 800-327-5050 for referrals and questions.