Opioid Prevention Toolkit: Helping Our Communities Heal Safely

In 2018, as part of a multi-tiered strategy to tackle the opioid epidemic in Oregon, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) hired Brink Communications (Brink) to develop a patient-centered social marketing campaign to reduce the demand for prescription opioids to manage pain.

In a year-long in-depth process, Brink and research partner Goodwin Simon Strategic Research (GSSR) conducted in-depth interviews, online and in-person focus groups and an online message testing survey with rural, Native and communities of color to understand how people approach pain and the factors that motivate them in considering treatment.

Building on these findings, they developed and implemented the “Heal Safely” campaign in 2019. The campaign in English and Spanish centers the positive goals of safe healing rather than the negative threat of opioids, with stories told through first-person narrative from diverse Oregonians throughout the state.

Purpose of the Guide:
With support from the Oregon Health Authority, Brink Communications and Goodwin Simon Strategic Research have created this toolkit as a resource to inform public education and engagement campaigns focused on pain management and opioids. It also provides helpful messaging guidance for other stakeholders communicating with people about pain.

The guide provides:

  • Insights into commonly held beliefs about opioids and pain
  • Understanding about how these beliefs affect people’s decisions about their pain management options
  • Key learnings around effective, research-tested language and message frames
  • Strategies for adapting educational and outreach materials about opioids and pain management to better reflect the experiences and concerns of communities of color

While this toolkit was primarily designed to support comprehensive public education and engagement campaigns, learnings from this toolkit may be applied to communications about opioids and pain management across multiple contexts and channels—from social media content, newsletters and brochures to media coverage and patient-provider conversations. The narratives and message guidance contained in this guide provide a powerful pathway to help people of many walks of life and in many settings think differently about their options for managing pain without opioids.

Population: Everyone

Links to Resource:

Date: 2020