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TV Ad Hopes to Reduce Addiction Stigma

January 31, 2024

As part of their continuing partnership to fight the opioid crisis in Connecticut, Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Network and the City of Meriden launched a television ad designed to reduce the social stigmas attached to addiction. Called “Recover a Life,” the 30-second spot appears on cable and local cable streaming apps in the Meriden area. Illegal opioids and stimulants topped state overdose deaths in 2022 with 1,452 deaths. This is actually a year-over-year decline of 4.7%, the first drop since 2012. The Meriden Opioid Referral for Recovery (MORR) project, is a partnership between the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network, HHC’s treatment facility Rushford, the City of Meriden and Meriden first responders to combat the opioid crisis.

Watch the new commercial 

MORR focuses on directly addressing the opioid crisis by supporting administration of Narcan in the field and then referring individuals to the specialized MORR staff embedded on Rushford’s Crisis Team. The team then guides individuals on their path to recovery. The program began in 2019, offering treatment for individuals who survived an opioid overdose, as well as preventative work, community and first responder training, free access to naloxone for the community, partnerships with local schools, and access to valuable data. The ad is part of an anti-stigma campaign, which is a component of the MORR program, explains Jessica Matyka, clinical director for Rushford’s crisis and acute community programming. “All of mental health carries a stigma, and that includes substance use disorders,” she says. “Every time we engage with anyone, we are working to eliminate these stigmas.” The ad features a woman named Lisa who has a nice home, a lovely family, and good friends. “But Lisa also has a disease known as substance use disorder,” the voiceover says. It shows Lisa in a group therapy setting, and then getting a new job. “Substance use disorder is a treatable disease,” the ad says. “Help someone recover their life.” The anti-stigma campaign started several months ago and includes ongoing naloxone education, a social media campaign that includes three Rushford colleagues, and now the launch of the commercial coming out shortly. “These ongoing partnerships that we have are so important,” Matyka says of the close working relationship Rushford and BHN have with the City of Meriden health and police departments. “It takes all of us working together to achieve recovery. Recovery doesn’t happen in isolation. So, the more the community works together, the more success we have.”