Pennsylvania launches campaign to reduce the stigma of addiction


Pennsylvania recently launched Life Unites Us, a campaign aimed at reducing the stigma of substance use disorders (SUD), specifically opioid use disorder (OUD).

It is part of the state’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Program’s 2019-2022 Strategic Plan and is funded by a $1.9 million federal grant.

The campaign will use social media platforms to share the stories of people and families struggling with SUD. Live and recorded webinars will provide more than 350 community-based organizations with tools and information focused on SUD prevention, treatment, and recovery. In addition, a web-based interactive data dashboard will detail the progress of the campaign.

Life Unites Us is based on a mental health stigma reduction campaign by public health nonprofit organization The Public Good Projects (PGP) that reduced stigma by 8 percentage points.

“Stigma keeps people from seeking treatment, and staying in treatment,” PGP CEO Joe Smyser said. “It prevents communities from effectively addressing the opioid epidemic because it creates a false narrative about addiction. This isn’t about ‘addicts.’ It’s about family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Real people with real lived experiences from all walks of life, and all parts of the state are behind this effort.”