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Campaign to Reduce Stigma of Addiction

About the Campaign 

Stigma is a mark of shame, disgrace or disapproval that sets a person apart from others. When people are labeled by their addiction they are seen as part of a stereotyped group rather than as individuals. They may experience rejection or discrimination. Because of the stigma surrounding addiction, policymakers may be reluctant to allocate resources, primary care providers may be less willing to screen for and address substance abuse problems (Yang et. al, 2017).  Stigma can also isolate families and loved ones of people with addiction, impacting their own social and emotional health (O’Shay-Wallace, 2019). Finally, stigma is one of the reasons individuals delay accessing treatment services and, therefore, have higher risk of an overdose.

To address the stigma related to addiction, Interact for Health and its partners in Funders' Response to the Heroin Epidemic (bi3, Fifth Third Foundation, Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, The Cincinnati Bar Foundation, The R.C. Durr Foundation and United Way of Greater Cincinnati) have developed a regional messaging campaign. The first phase of the campaign launched in the summer of 2019 with partners in four communities. The campaign was refined and ran again with four new partners in winter of 2019-2020. Additional iterations of the campaign are underway.

Desired outcomes of the campaign include:

  • Create a positive community of hope for those in recovery.
  • Increase perception of available resources in the community to help people struggling with addiction.
  • Change community perception of addiction.
  • Increase support for families and loved ones of those coping with addiction.

Implementation of the campaign was done in collaboration with community partners. Target audiences include the faith community, business leaders, families of people with addiction, parents and grandparents.


In the fall of 2019, in partnership with Acupoll, a market research firm, a qualitative survey was conducted to measure whether campaign messages were having the intended effect on attitudes. After seeing the campaign ads, respondents reported a shift in perspective to more positive and hopeful about the opioid epidemic after campaign exposure. The messages performed across audiences. Further, the research showed that messages focused around the role of community in addressing substance use disorder were most impactful. 

Materials Now Available

To help reduce stigma in Greater Cincinnati and beyond, Interact for Health and its partners in the Funders' Response to the Heroin Epidemic are making the toolkit available for others to utilize. The following items are available electronically. To access, please complete this online form

  • Traditional media: Newspaper inserts, billboards, radio scripts
  • Digital media: Display ads, social media ads, social media anticipated questions and answers

The following items may be available upon request. To access, please indicate your interest in our online form

  • Traditional media: Radio ad (30 second), promotional items, movie theater ad
  • Digital media: Digital radio ad (30 second), digital ad/over the top TV ad (30 second), branded content article

Request access to campaign materials 

To request access to the toolkit, please complete this form. Once your request is received, a member of the Interact for Health staff will be in contact within one week.


If you would like more information or have questions about the toolkit, please reach out to Lisa Myers at