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Prevent Overdose WA

The U.S. is experiencing an overdose epidemic driven by the proliferation of highly potent synthetic opioids containing fentanyl. Drug overdose deaths in Washington involving synthetic opioids increased more than 160% between 2018 and 2022. Each day about two people in Washington die of an opioid-related overdose, and thousands more struggle with opioid use disorder.

The Washington State Department of Health turned to C+C to create a campaign with a goal to reduce overdose deaths caused by opioids in the state of Washington by building awareness and driving harm reduction strategies. C+C used both secondary and primary research and social marketing planning principles to arrive at the final Prevent Overdose WA/No más sobredosis WA campaign which included six research phases.

The campaign, Prevent Overdose WA/No más sobredosis WA, was created in English and Spanish and was designed to give people information to effectively identify an overdose and how to stop it.

The post campaign survey showed a 14% increase in statewide naloxone awareness among English-speakers and a 11% increase among Spanish-speakers. A 98% increase in naloxone orders occurred in the 13 targeted counties during the campaign period as compared to average monthly orders in the six months before the campaign. The campaign engaged audiences with content about how to intervene to help reverse and overdose.

— The campaign drove more than 188K unique visitors to the website with a very low bounce rate of 5%. was #1 driver of traffic to (a linked partner site).
— The campaign garnered more than 500K social media engagements.
— Campaign priority audience groups had statistically significant higher campaign recall (as compared to the general pop at 29%) showing that the campaign impacted its priority audience groups:
---People who use opioids (PWUO): 62% recall
---Care networks: 47% recall
---BIPOC individuals: 40% recall
---Spanish-speakers: 51% recall

While addressing both public and self-stigma requires a long-term approach, the campaign creative was able to begin this journey through the use of compassionate and non-judgmental messaging and tonality. The concept testing and stakeholder outreach showed the campaign was well received by priority audiences across the state as a model of how you can promote harm reduction behaviors while also addressing stigma.