ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Discrimination against people with substance use disorders (SUDs) has directly contributed to the addiction crisis in Georgia. Georgia Recovers is designed to directly reduce this discrimination. The re-launch of this digital public health campaign is built on the pivotal work championed by the Georgia Council for Recovery (GC4R) and is rooted in community connections. The campaign benefits from the wealth of knowledge of Georgians, including community leaders, digital influencers, community organizations, social service agencies, and more. Georgia Recovers is a partnership with national nonprofit Shatterproof funded by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) with support from the GC4R.
“Thousands of Georgia residents struggle with substance use disorders,” said Laurisa Guerrero, executive director of Georgia Council for Recovery. “By revitalizing Georgia Recovers and normalizing substance use treatment diagnosis, treatment, reduction and recovery, we will help to influence behaviors and perceptions.”
The necessity for this initiative is more urgent than ever. In a baseline survey administered by Ipsos and evaluated by Indiana University that measures existing knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors toward people with opioid use disorders (OUDs) in Georgia, half of survey respondents (51.1%) reported knowing someone with an OUD. Respondents also reported unwillingness to interact with a person with an OUD in social settings like moving next door (40.5%), hiring for a job (22%), or spending an evening socializing (39%). Unfortunately, these negative attitudes from peers and society present barriers to treatment for those with an OUD.
Georgia Recovers utilizes an evidence-based messaging approach proven to help change attitudes associated with substance use disorders — drawing upon the power of storytelling to humanize impacted individuals and the lives of people in recovery. Through these stories, the campaign strives to inspire hope, connection, and community, and ultimately, remove barriers to care. Georgia Recovers aligns with ongoing statewide initiatives to reduce overdoses, support recovery efforts, and educate the public. The diverse voices of Georgia residents and community organizations are central to the success of this campaign and will continue to play a key role moving forward. This multi-pronged initiative replicates the success of other transformational social movements in catalyzing changes in knowledge, attitudes and ultimately, behaviors.
“Substance use disorders and other mental health conditions are heavily negatively discriminated against and often not seen as a disease or as a health condition,” said Gary Mendell, founder and CEO of Shatterproof. “Together as partners, we will change hearts and minds and commit to the important, life-saving work of Georgia Recovers across the state.”
“Stigma is a major burden to achieving access to competent, quality care and recruiting a trained workforce with the ability to make a significant impact,” said Kevin Tanner, Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. “Stigma reduction through the Georgia Recovers campaign allows the miracle of recovery to flourish. DBHDD is committed to playing an active role in the solution because we believe recovery is real in Georgia.”
Changes in how the public views people with SUDs will be reassessed one year after campaign launch to measure progress.
Georgia Recovers testimonials are shared widely via social media channels and by local community members, community organizations, and a campaign website, which connects the community to resources and builds a network of champions for discrimination reduction efforts across the state.
Substance use disorder affects every community in Georgia, and SUD is a treatable medical condition. Follow Georgia Recovers on Facebook and Instagram and contribute to the conversation using the hashtag #GARecoversTogether. Share your story here or become a campaign partner.
To learn more about how to get involved in reducing addiction discrimination in Georgia communities, email GeorgiaRecovers@Shatterproof.org.
ABOUT GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES:
The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) is the state agency, which supports people with mental health needs, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Department’s vision is easy access to high-quality care that leads to a life of recovery and independence for the people it serves. For more information, visit https://dbhdd.georgia.gov/
ABOUT GEORGIA COUNCIL FOR RECOVERY:
The mission of the Georgia Council for Recovery is to increase the impact of recovery in our communities through education, advocacy, training, and peer recovery support services.
Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the addiction crisis in the U.S. Shatterproof is focused on guiding communities, removing systemic barriers to recovery, mobilizing the country to advocate for change, and ending addiction stigma in the United States. Find Shatterproof on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube @ShatterproofHQ or follow us on Instagram at @weareshatterproof. To learn more, visit www.Shatterproof.org. If you are experiencing anxiety, depression, or a substance use disorder, text SHATTERPROOF to 741741 for help.