[Webinar Recap] Communications to Reduce Fentanyl-Related Overdose

In a recent webinar, we discussed how to cut through the misconceptions about Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and increase the perceived relevance of risks of fentanyl-laced substances to drive behavior change. Here, we provide key takeaways for developing communications to reduce fentanyl-related overdose. In part 2, “[Webinar Recap] Communications to Promote Treatment for OUD,” we’ll dive into how you can use public health campaigns to promote treatment for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

Research Insights: Many Substance Users Don’t Believe They’re At-risk

From 2020 to 2021, we conducted audience research including 20 in-depth interviews with teens ages 14-18 in King County, Washington; 16 in-depth interviews with adults ages 21-35 in Illinois; and 10 focus groups and 8 in-depth interviews with adults ages 19-40 in King County, WA. Audience insights include:

  • Many substance users do not think they are at-risk for overdose. Fentanyl-related overdoses are at an all-time high, but many feel fentanyl is an issue isolated to certain locations or communities.
  • At the same time, many experienced substance users don’t know what fentanyl is and that it’s a problem.
  • Adults feel confident in their drug use behaviors due to positive experiences with trusted friends, family members, or partners.
    Experienced substance users trust their dealers and often have long-term relationships with them.

unnamed (17)Strategic Approach: Convince Experienced Substance Users That Fentanyl Is a Threat to Them Today

We deploy our Decision Blocks™ framework to reduce gaps in knowledge about health consequences. Decision Blocks help us create messages that are “realistically scary,” showing the audience relevant health consequences that they believe could actually happen to them.

The Decision Blocks framework starts with establishing the foundational knowledge the audience needs to know. Then, we show specific, realistic ways that this behavior can harm their health, and we increase perceived relevance of those risks by showing them how these risks relate to them. The last step is to provide the audience with steps they can take to be healthier.
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Example: Ad “Meet Myles” Increases Perceived Relevance of Fentanyl Risks

Using the Decision Blocks framework, we developed the ad “Meet Myles” in partnership with Washington State’s King County to increase teen’s relevancy of the risk of fentanyl-related overdoses and the importance of taking preventative measures. The ad features a relatable character and authentic story to ensure maximum resonance among those most at-risk.


Read more about our approach to creating public health campaigns that help prevent fentanyl-related overdoses.


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