U.S. cities are facing a silent public health crisis among injection drug users. Fatal and near-fatal overdoses have spiked. HIV and hepatitis C infection rates have reached critical levels.
The solutions to these problems are simple, cheap, and supported by good public health data. They are also very difficult to implement because of significant stigma surrounding open conversations about the nature of drug addiction.
To build a transmedia campaign aimed at de-stigmatizing injection drug users in order to positively impact public health in Denver, Colorado. The campaign had to humanize the struggles of drug addiction to effect significant changes in public perception and policy.
Using feedback from organizational stakeholders, Luceo crafted a campaign incorporating photographs, video, mobile and web technologies designed to give Denver's Harm Reduction Action Center and its affiliates tools to educate and empower members of the community it serves. The campaign depicts the healthcare stories of active and recovering injection drug users and their families and is aimed to show addiction as a disease afflicting people we know and love.
To-date, campaign materials have been used in media, advertising, and education materials to inform and mobilize community stakeholders including local law enforcement, healthcare providers and advocates, and the immediate community served by the Harm Reduction Action Center. Since the implementation of the work, the Harm Reduction Action Center has successfully opened Colorado's first (and largest) syringe access program, has successfully advocated for passage of the Good Samaritan Law, and has worked with law enforcement to craft exemption policies for those actively participating in the syringe access program. This has resulted in the distribution of more than 100,000 clean syringes annually, successful reversal of 26 near-fatal overdoses, and a marked reduction in crime –particularly drug-related crime –in the immediate community served by the Harm Reduction Action Center.