A podcast was recently released covering Harvard Business School Alumni Jim Langford which describes efforts to reduce opioid abuse in Georgia. His efforts began in 2008 with methamphetamines and have applied what was learned in that process to the opioid crisis. Jim created a group called the Substance Abuse Research Alliance (SARA) to gather the best thoughts on countering the mounting deaths and exorbitant costs of opioid abuse.
Two of the recommendations for the first version of the report have been implemented by Georgia’s legislature. They include making the overdose reversal drug naloxone available over the counter and beefing up the electronic system for tracking opioid prescriptions. SARA’s latest recommendations are extensive include a marketing style campaign, including media advertising, to elevate the understanding of the risks of prescription medication as well as illegal heroin and fentanyl. One such effective ad was called “Bathtub” which showed a teenage girl who gets a frightening look at her future after becoming addicted. Such ads were effective at increasing awareness and impacting opinions about meth and will now be expanded to opioid education.
The issues around prescription medication, which represents the starting point for most opioid abusers, represents a bigger challenge but where marketing based education will be part of the solution. We can prevent opioid abuse through a public – non-profit partnerships and through studying what is working in other parts of the country.
For the latest version of SARAs White Paper, see
For an article and podcast on Jim Langford’s efforts in Georgia, see
For the somewhat frightening meth prevention ad, the “Bathtub”, see