Taking The Stigma Out Of Opioid Addiction

The National Opioid Action Coalition (NOAC), which includes WPP and iHeartMedia, has launched a new initiative called #TalkToMe.

It is designed to take the stigma out of opioid addiction and help people start conversations about opioid misuse. 

The goal is to make it easier for families, communities and workplaces to have the kind of honest conversations that will reduce the stigma that prevents effective treatment and lasting recovery.

The #TalkToMe platform was created by WPP agency VMLY&R and features a number of components, including a social-media campaign encouraging people to share their stories. 

iHeartMedia will air a series of #TalkToMe vignettes across its more than 850 radio stations during September, which has been dubbed National Recovery Month. The spots will feature on-air personalities and musicians, including Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx, Macklemore, Camila Cabello, Dan + Shay, Papa Roach, The Band Perry, Jason Wahler and Wells Adams. 



Learn more about other elements of the project here.

Later this fall, iHeartMedia will launch an original #TalkToMe podcast series that will feature discussions with celebrity guests and subject matter experts. 

The NOAC, formed last year by WPP, IHeart and Fors Marsh Group, is also orchestrating a panel at Advertising Week NY that will be moderated by Sixx. It will focus on how brands can support governmental efforts that combat the opioid epidemic. New data about Americans’ comfort in talking about opioid misuse will be shared.

A recent study by Shatterproof found that 75% of all people who are impacted by substance misuse are in the workforce. The estimated yearly economic impact of substance abuse in the workplace is over $442 billion dollars.

Sean Howard, global managing firector, WPP government and public sector practice, said: “The scale of the opioid epidemic is alarming and with 130 people dying from opioid overdose every day in the U.S., every company is connected to this crisis through their customers, employees and communities they serve. We have the opportunity to make a difference in this fight, and every brand has a role to play. #TalkToMe is an invitation for companies to step up and join the fight.”


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