The tidal wave that is the Opioid Epidemic in our rural, suburban and metro regions has been so overwhelming that often the disparate work to address this problem is primarily well-meaning, reactionary and siloed. This often translates into limited resources being deployed in ways that could not possibly address such a large-scale social epidemic.
Communities need ways in which they can operationalize around this serious issue that are targeted and employ strategies that align partnerships, resources and activities to prevent, intervene and support the community.
These strategies often involve collaboratives, awareness campaigns and community planning!
The process often needed to get there is coalescing key stakeholders through the following steps and can be scaled to small and large geographic footprints:
- Organize a Collective Impact Framework (Collaborative)
- Assess the Prevention-Intervention-Support Landscape Benchmark Data
- Develop a Community Plan and goals for each component
- Create an Awareness Campaign (“Go Purple”) as an alignment and communication mechanism
- Synergize resources and target to key drivers
- Study impact
Some of these steps are implemented simultaneously. The Awareness Campaign can be used to drive the process and a launching point in which a community can coalesce stakeholders, inform the community on the issue, garner resources to support the process and gain activity alignment.
The “Go Purple Awareness Campaign” as an example of a community awareness campaign is an expansion of the Herren Purple Project and a more global approach to the opioid epidemic. PMG Consulting brought this Campaign to Delaware and was able to start small and rapidly scale a citywide campaign to one that emerged into a Statewide grassroots movement. The movement was able to promote large scale awareness, anti-stigma messaging and alignment through messages of the dangers of prescription medication misuse and messages of hope while promoting treatment access.
The initiative brought public, foundational and private partners to the table with resources in a unified way. The messaging platform permeated all arenas and included: Media, Business, Faith Based, Government, Non-Profit, Treatment and Individuals and provided a catalyst in which to frame our work around this common social cause. It brought financial and in-kind resources to bare and foster ROI 3-fold for the state.
Sample of Social Impact Outcomes:
- Statewide Opioid Awareness Campaign initiated and launched
- $200,000 of direct funding and in kind to support the comprehensive approach
- Facilitated and mobilized local and statewide partnership
- Developed pathway funding for aligned Youth Prevention Education
- Developed pipeline for information to those seeking access to treatment or support
- Reduction of stigma associated with the opioid epidemic.
The key is initial dollars for this work and social momentum. It was the grassroots swell that attracted funders and partners to bring and align efforts and monies in an increased, targeted way. This process allowed and encouraged everyone in the state who was concerned or wanted to be involved a pathway they were comfortable with to be involved and empowered to be part of a greater social impact.
If you or your community are interested in setting up a similar process or project, we can help! PMG Consulting and our partner TAPP Network can help you design a social impact process and offer templates, community planning guidance and implementation coaching. Specialized assessment services developed and approved by the CDC are available.