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Substance Abuse/Drug Prevention

|| Behavioral Health Systems Baltimore

Opioid Misuse Prevention Program

Behavioral Health Systems Baltimore (BHSB) selected MEE to develop a Strategic Communications Plan to support implementation of its Opioid Misuse Prevention Program grant from the state of Maryland. MEE leveraged two decades of audience insights to help identify the most effective concepts, messages and executions for raising awareness among hard-to-reach, targeted audiences and community residents in Baltimore. This was combined with current qualitative research with a sub-set of the population (young African-American males, ages 18-25), to inform the recommendations in the Plan.

 

Focus group participants bemoaned the lack of resources and things to do in their community; to them, it feels like “everything is gone.” They sorely missed the feeling of a non-judgmental, supporting community that cares about them, indicating that they want to hear affirming messages from adults (including their families) who believe in their ability to achieve their full potential. Young adults also repeatedly said that if we want them to cope differently (than using drugs), they need real alternatives and a way to connect with positive places and people who can help them develop their skills and talents and exceed expectations. Based on these and other findings, MEE presented a menu of options for a six-month, culturally relevant public health intervention (based on SAMSHA’s strategic prevention framework).

 

Recommended strategies focused on identifying and promoting positive, alternative activities to which young people could be connected. MEE recommended as target audiences for the campaign plan the grassroots community-based organizations, trusted agencies and programs and faith-based institutions where Baltimore families already go for services, along with individual community adults (“old heads”) who can be a non-judgmental, yet supporting presence for Baltimore’s youth. The Creative Team developed branding/iconography, print materials and transit/outdoor ads for the campaign.

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