September 1, 2017

Opioid Addiction: Addressing the Health Care Marketing Trend

We want to share two ways health care marketers can help in the fight to end the trend of opioid addiction.

Earlier this year we felt compelled to name opioid addiction as a trend impacting health care brands and marketers in our annual trends report.

Consider this:

  • 1 out of 10 Americans is addicted to opioids or is in recovery.
  • 142 Americans die from a drug overdose every day. In other words, America is enduring a death toll equal to 9/11 every three weeks.

Opioid addiction is affecting every hospital across the country. 

When we look at how health care marketers and communicators can best help end this trend of opioid addiction, two distinct areas of action come to mind.

1. Do your health system’s employees and physicians know the warning signs of addiction or overdose? 

Opioid addiction isn’t only impacting emergency rooms. Because of its widespread prevalence, those who need help may be coming into your hospitals through the front door, not just the ER. 

And the people who also may need help with opioid addiction might be your employees. 

We don’t say this lightly.

Let’s look back at the stat I shared earlier in this post:

1 out of 10 Americans is addicted to opioids or is in recovery.

If you work for a hospital or health system, it’s likely your organization is one of the largest employers in town.

It’s likely 1 out of every 10 of your employees is battling addiction or is in recovery.

Which brings us to the second action item that marketers and communicators can take to help end this trend:

2. Let your employees know where to go for help.

They need to know what the resources are locally—for themselves and for patients and caregivers who they suspect may be battling addiction.

Work with stakeholders to devise an action plan to communicate how to spot the warning signs of opioid addiction and overdose. Also share what resources are available to those who are battling this disease. 

America has woken up to this epidemic. Now it’s up to us to help our brothers and sisters, neighbors, teammates and families. 

Let us know how you are helping end this tragic trend in the comments below. The more resources we can share with our colleagues, the stronger our fight will be to win back the lives of those battling opioid addiction.