Advocates for Opioid Recovery

THE CHALLENGE

The goal of Advocates for Opioid Recovery (AOR) is to advance a science-based, evidence-based treatment system that can reduce death and suffering from opioid addiction, and produce more long-term opioid addiction survivors who are positively engaged in their families and communities. CURA founders Anne Woodbury and Jeff Valliere teamed up with founding advisors former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and noted civil rights activist Van Jones to create a bipartisan initiative focused solely on promoting evidence-based treatment for opioid addiction.

How CURA Strategies and Advocates for Opioid Recovery are Rewriting the Prescription for Opioid Addiction Treatment

CURA Strategies conceptualized and created AOR. We developed the strategy and proposal, recruited the celebrity advisors, and secured the seed funding to establish the 501(c)(4). Anne Woodbury serves as the Executive Director and manages the CURA team which makes up the entirety of the AOR “staff.” Regular activities include:

  • Engaging the advisors on a regular basis to help inform the strategy and priorities of AOR as well as fuse together the bipartisan collaboration of the AOR advisors to urge action to promote evidence-based treatment
  • Managing all strategic and tactical aspects including integrated communications efforts including press statements, talking points, content development, social media, paid promotion, earned media, website development and maintenance, and events
  • Connecting with influencers and sponsors to promote AOR’s priorities and fundraise for its sustainability
  • Planning and creating programmatic campaigns to advance AOR’s four strategic pillars: breaking down bias, expanding treatment capacity, advancing insurance parity for medication assisted treatment, and reforming the criminal justice system
  • Advocating for policy and behavior change by communicating the evidence to key influencers, the media, and medical professionals
  • Positioning and research
  • Communications Analytics

CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHT

#LetsTrumpAddiction

To encourage President Trump to reaffirm his commitment to ending the opioid crisis in his Joint Session speech to Congress, CURA Strategies developed the AOR social media campaign #LetsTrumpAddiction. Through a combination of paid and organic strategies, our campaign reached more than 4.64 million people. Our Thunderclap message, sent out the day of the Joint Session address, exceeded our goal with 1,769 supporters. CURA Strategies published op-eds in both The Hill and Real Clear Health, and ensured that all three advisors were active in promoting the campaign through their social media platforms. The campaign culminated with President Trump’s speech on February 28th, during which he said, “We will expand treatment for those who have become so badly addicted.”

Silver Winner in Best Use of Social Media for the 2018 Bulldog PR Awards 

Selected as a finalist in two Holmes Report Innovation SABRE Awards categories: Best Use of Integrated Social Media and Government/Public Affairs/Lobbying

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Results

In the first year, CURA Strategies:

  • Secured over 80 original stories in media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, AP, Bloomberg BNA, BuzzFeed, NPR, CNN, Fox News, and Politico. In December 2016, our team organized Editorial Board meetings with The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, TIME Magazine, BuzzFeed, and The New Yorker, and a one-hour special on opioid addiction that ran on over 170 local ABC, FOX, and CBS stations.
  • Generated over 12 million impressions and over 1.88 million engagements regarding evidence-based opioid recovery using AOR and advisor channels; our Facebook Live Q&As with the advisors have reached more than one million people.
  • Participated in and helped produce events such as a forum on the opioid crisis at the American Enterprise Institute, “The opiate crisis: How can public policy promote recovery?”
  • Educated presidential candidates on the importance of evidence-based treatment, resulting in strong positions by both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
  • To better understand trends in utilization and healthcare payer mix of medication assisted treatment and their use nationally and by state, AOR funded the IMS Quintiles
  • Institute Study on the healthcare payer mix of medication assisted treatment which revealed dramatic variations and shockingly low state-funded coverage in key states thus providing fodder for change.
  • Researched and wrote individualized letters jointly signed by the advisors to 25 state governors to educate them on the need for eliminating barriers and improving access to medication assisted treatment in their Medicaid programs.
  • The CURA team organized all the branded materials (including a one-page print ad, brochures, signage, wrist bands, and pins) for distribution at the AOR booth at the 2017 National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, and managed logistics and talking points forthe plenary session with Newt Gingrich and Patrick J. Kennedy.
Transforming healthcare takes more than stories placed in top-tier media. CURA delivers on that for AOR, but they also know how to shape opinions and make change happen. They are a great strategic and operational partner. The success of AOR is a testament to their hard work, intelligence and dedication.
Newt Gingrich, Advocates for Opioid Recovery Advisor and Former Speaker of the House
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