Advocates for Opioid Recovery
Breaking down barriers and breaking through bias
Over the past two decades, the opioid crisis has grown to epidemic proportions. Despite evidence supporting the effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD), a strong stigma against MATs has influenced federal policy. One such example was Medicare’s failure to cover opioid treatment programs. This needed to change quickly given an estimated 300,000 Medicare beneficiaries have been diagnosed with OUD, and this group representing the highest and fastest growing rate of individuals suffering from this disorder.
After more than four months of debate and revisions, the SUPPORT Act was signed into law on October 24, 2018.
CURA launched Advocates for Opioid Recovery (AOR) in 2016 after recruiting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy and CEO of the REFORM Alliance Van Jones to create a bipartisan initiative focused solely on promoting evidence-based treatment for OUD. AOR’s mission is simple: help more people become long-term opioid addiction survivors.
We kicked off the effort to expand Medicare coverage of opioid treatment programs (OTP) by inviting two of the most established third-party groups in the addiction space—the Collaborative for Effective Prescription Opioid Policies (CEPOP) and the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD), to co-host a briefing on Capitol Hill called, “MAT as a Frontline Response to the National Opioid Emergency.” We also conducted advocacy trainings to empower local community activists to advocate effectively for federal legislation to expand OTP coverage and placed op-eds in The Hill featuring former Speaker Gingrich and former Congressman Kennedy.
We created an easy-to-use advocacy tool that allowed people to contact their elected officials simply by clicking a link and inputting their personal information. Additionally, we formed the Survivors Council, a group of ten OUD survivors and their loved ones who were willing to share their insights and perspectives via speaking engagements and interviews with local and national media. Several of the members of the council were able to go to Capitol Hill to speak directly with members of Congress about the Medicare OTP issue.
To help AOR achieve their legislative goal, we leveraged an issue-based campaign to raise awareness and position ourselves as a leading advocate in the opioid recovery community through the following strategies:
- Uniquely branding the efforts
- Humanizing the issue and bringing the patient perspective to life through the Survivors Council
- Constructing advocacy tools and building a community of advocates
- Serving as the conduit to the community for influencers and media
Advocates cultivated with our OneClickPolitics advocacy tool
Raised the caps on the amount of buprenorphine prescriptions that doctors and nurses could write
Best Public Affairs Campaign
Best Use of Twitter Engagement
Best Use of Social Media
2018 Best Use of Integrated Social Media, Finalist
Health Care Campaign of the Year
Strategy Development & Execution
- Campaign development
- Stakeholder engagement
- Coalition Building
- Thought leadership positioning and training
Creative & Branding
- Branding & messaging
- Multimedia production
- Digital Platform Development
- Graphic design
Communications & Public Relations
- Media relations
- Op-ed drafting and placement
- Social media
- Website and advocacy platform development
- Paid digital media
- Virtual and in-person event support
Government Relations & Public Affairs
- Legislative strategy
- Grassroots activation
- Advocacy platform development and management