Evergreen Treatment Services

Reframing the conversation about opioid addiction and treatment

Evergreen Treatment Service delivers life-saving treatment to Grays Harbor County

Description:

Evergreen Treatment Services (ETS) is a non-profit organization that provides innovative and transformative treatment and wraparound services for people suffering with heroin and other opioid addictions in Western Washington. In spring 2014, Minerva Strategies worked with ETS to build community support for the opening of a new medication assisted treatment clinic in Grays Harbor County, WA.

Challenge:

Medication assisted treatment using methadone or buprenorphine is the gold standard for treating people with opioid addiction. Unfortunately, the clinics that offer these life-changing treatments often face significant resistance. Community members – business owners, police officers, homeowners – may recognize the effectiveness of treatment, but often do not want a clinic in their neighborhoods. The resistance stems from unfounded fears that a clinic will drive up crime and draw people who are addicted to their neighborhoods.

Work:

Faced with abundant misinformation about addiction and treatment, Minerva Strategies collaborated with ETS to create accurate, understandable, and attractive information resources for Grays Harbor residents. We stressed messages that medication assisted treatment is a necessary, cost-effective response to the alarming growth of opioid addiction in Grays Harbor County, and emphasized that treatment helps drive down crime rates.

Using data from various expert sources, we developed a suite of collateral materials including informational posters, a fact sheet, and a frequently asked questions document.

These materials were used to represent ETS’ work at community meetings where local officials and citizens could express their concerns, ask questions, and learn about treatment. Minerva Strategies strategized with ETS about how they would be represented at these meetings to maximize support for the new clinic. For the first time, according to ETS Executive Director Molly Carney, the organization’s communication materials reflected their established professional reputation for addiction treatment.

In addition to developing effective materials, we reached out to a variety of media outlets in the South Puget Sound area to encourage interest in the new clinic and generate a conversation about Washington’s opioid addiction problem in rural areas. This media outreach resulted in several thoughtful pieces on ETS clinics in the South Sound including a long-form segment onKUOW Public Radio (local NPR affiliate), as well as coverage in the local Grays Harbor County paper, The Daily World, the Olympian, and KING5 TV.

Result:

ETS Grays Harbor Clinic opened in June of 2014. The effective communication campaign built on the foundation of ETS’ excellent reputation to ensure a positive, welcoming reception by the people of Grays Harbor County.