RTI and Ogilvy Team Up to Combat Opioid Stigma

Digital campaign sheds light on the hidden faces of the opioid epidemic

March 19, 2019

The opioid crisis is far-reaching, affecting Americans in every state across racial, ethnic, religious, and gender lines, yet most people living in the hardest hit regions don’t believe their community is affected by the opioid crisis.

To bring awareness around opioid addiction and reduce the stigma associated with it, the Centers for Disease Control and the White House are supporting a campaign, The Crisis Next Door, which launched in Spring 2017. Now, RTI International and Ogilvy have teamed up to increase the impact of campaign.

The Crisis Next Door is a digital campaign that connects with key audiences, encouraging those touched by the opioid epidemic to share their stories with short videos that are then posted on the site.  From clean-cut college students to mothers to military veterans, the videos give visibility to an often-hidden problem.

“Due to stigmatization, people may be connected to others affected by the opioid epidemic and never know it,” said Rohan Verma, Project Director and Digital Lead from Ogilvy. “Videos are a powerful and personal way to show the faces of the opioid epidemic. By connecting with the right people, we can break down barriers and start a national conversation around the problem.”

RTI supports Ogilvy by conducting formative research to help develop key messages, evaluate the reach of the campaign, and assess how the video stories affect people’s knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about opioid use disorder and those who have it. 

“We plan to use a variety of different research methods to assess the impact of the campaign including social media listening and analyzing campaign ads and use of the campaign’s website,” said Linda Squiers, PhD, Senior Health Communication Scientist and RTI’s project lead. “Starting next year, we’ll also build an educational curriculum using stories to inform youth of the impact of opioids and will be expanding the campaign to reach additional audiences.”

To confront the opioid epidemic, The Crisis Next Door aims to increase awareness of the extent of the opioid crisis and who it affects by presenting the public with relatable stories of opioid misuse from people like members of viewers’ own communities. The hope is that the campaign can start a national conversation around problem.