Healthy Behaviors and Choices (e.g. Fitness, Tobacco, Opioids, Nutrition)
Sharing Session - 60 Minutes
The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in the nation’s history. In creating programs that address the opioid epidemic, it is important to understand the ways that the epidemic is understood in public discourse. In 2017, The Public Good Projects (PGP) partnered with innovative software companies that collect and monitor big data from publicly available sources. Data consisted of publicly available messages across multiple ‘big data’ media sources. From Sept. 25 – Oct. 25, 2017, PGP collected 412,026 messages across these sources that have some sort of reference to opioids. Content analysis showed that in public discourse, the opioid crisis is framed in six ways, (1) A policy debate occurring primarily in Washington, D.C.; (2) The impact on families due to loss of a loved one; (3) A criminal justice issue; (4) The culpability of the healthcare system; (5) The culpability of the pharmaceutical industry; (6) Frustration by those experiencing chronic pain, who rely on opioids.
Results showed that the opioid epidemic is predominately framed as a policy discussion. The public appears more likely to be exposed to messages which discuss the epidemic at a high level, related to the government’s response and role. Little information is tailored for rural populations. Based on these results, PGP created open-source toolkits to address themes observed in the data, among both rural and urban audiences. Future research should examine further ways to incorporate tailored messaging into campaigns in a way that resonates most within specific communities.