The Public Good Projects brings together the nation's leading experts to use the power of media and marketing to solve our nation’s greatest health problems.

Opioid Crisis

For the past three years PGP has produced original research, behavior change communications, and technology in response to the opioid crisis.  Much of this work has been done in coordination with PGP's partners:

Public health monitoring

PGP has uncovered critical information about the opioid crisis, and is the only organization in the United States that monitors all publicly available media 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. This data is available to any organization responding to the crisis.

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behavior change communication

PGP has created multiple videos, images, and other assets tailored for rural and urban populations.  These materials are developed directly from the data provided by PGP's Public Health Monitoring.  These materials are available to any organization responding to the crisis, and calls-to-action and logos can be changed as needed.

opioid chatbot

PGP's engineers and health experts worked with data provided by Google and The National Academies of Sciences to create the first opioid chatbot for the United States. This chatbot is available to any organization responding to the crisis.

Opioid Crisis Monitoring

 

The map above shows where the American public is exposed to messages on television about chronic pain and opioids. The areas shown are Designated Market Areas (DMA’s), or television markets.

Findings thus far:

PGP's analysts use machine learning and natural language processing to examine tens of millions of data points taken from public social media posts, television, radio, print news and magazines, online video, and websites and blogs. These data tell us what the public is exposed to, and what the public is saying. Data can be explored at the national level to the city level, and within particular populations.

PGP has discovered:

  • In public discourse the opioid crisis is framed in six distinct ways, listed here in order from largest proportion of the conversation to smallest:
  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, focusing on punitive measures
  4. The culpability of the healthcare system, and in particular physicians
  5. The culpability of the pharmaceutical industry
  6. Frustration by those experiencing chronic pain, who rely on opioids
  • The proportion of national dialogue relating to the culpability of the healthcare system and government, as well as the lack of tangible calls-to-action for the public, is worrying. Erosion of trust in authorities and institutions should be of serious concern to those entrusted with the public’s welfare.
  • Very little information seems to be tailored for rural populations, who face a disproportionate burden of opioid related addiction and overdose.
  • 18-25 year olds do not appear to have been effectively reached by awareness messaging. They are not exposed to, and not sharing messages. Older populations are seeing and sharing messages, often regarding chronic pain.
  • People living in counties that over-index for opioid overdoses search for opioid related information more often.
  • It is extraordinarily easy to locate and purchase opioids illegally online. Illegal opioids are sold across social media and websites, with different strategies employed on different sites and channels. For example, sellers on Instagram often ask to be contacted via private messenger apps like WhatsApp, whereas sellers on Twitter often provide links to unregulated websites.
 PGP is able to track stories and conversations from their source through social networks.  Where did information originate, which sources promoted it, and what was the effect?

PGP is able to track stories and conversations from their source through social networks.  Where did information originate, which sources promoted it, and what was the effect?

 PGP visualizes data in real time, such as the ping map above, to provide situational awareness for evolving public health crises and to help analysts understand at a glance complex and large datasets.

PGP visualizes data in real time, such as the ping map above, to provide situational awareness for evolving public health crises and to help analysts understand at a glance complex and large datasets.

Behavior Change Communication

PGP's Public Health Monitoring shows that Americans are disproportionately exposed to messages that frame the opioid crisis as a policy debate.  Most opioid awareness campaigns, though well intentioned, have neglected to localize their message.  The opioid crisis is local above all else.  Every household has been touched.  PGP's data shows Americans are in need of messaging that builds self efficacy and speaks to local solutions and realities.  People need to believe they can do something, and they need tangible calls-to-action in addition to general awareness messages.

The videos below represent a sampling of PGP's work on the opioid crisis.  These videos, and much more including infographics, images, gifs, etc are available at no charge to organizations. PGP will change calls-to-action, as well as include an organization's logo, website, and any other information.

 

Opioid Crisis Reel

A selection of PGP's opioid awareness videos.  Scroll down further to view individual videos by topic area.

rural audiences

PGP traveled to multiple counties across the U.S., focusing on those that had experienced the highest rates of opioid overdoses.  No individuals in this video are actors, and all locations are real.  PGP selected locations based on consumer insights, or where rural individuals most often spend their time or associate their communities with.  The script of the video is comprised of real messages shared by individuals living in rural counties - these messages were stitched together to help represent the voice of rural America.

urban audiences

PGP traveled to multiple cities across the U.S., focusing on those that had experienced higher rates of opioid overdoses.  No individuals in this video are actors, and all locations are real.  PGP selected locations based on consumer insights, or where urban individuals most often spend their time or associate their communities with.  The script of the video is comprised of real messages shared by individuals living in urban counties - these messages were stitched together to help represent the voice of urban America.

First Responders

PGP's opioid monitoring has shown that individuals want to see examples of first responders rising to the challenge of responding to the crisis.  At the same time, Americans want to hear how they themselves can contribute, and awareness messages must be far more localized in order to increase self-efficacy.  No individual in this video is an actor, and all scenes depicted are real.

Q&A

PGP created a Q&A series with a healthcare provider and a member of the general public to address common myths, misperceptions, and gaps in understanding.

 

Personal Stories

PGP's film crew has traveled to many of the hardest hit counties in the U.S., collecting the stories of everyday Americans personally impacted by the crisis.  These stories are true, raw, and powerful tools for opioid awareness and education.

MOTION GRAPHICS

PGP'S production studio turns otherwise easily ignored facts and statistics into engaging short form video that can accompany educational messages and calls-to-action.

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Opioid Chatbot

PGP's Opioid Chatbot was created using a rigorous process of research and testing. 

  1. To start, Google provided PGP with the most searched for questions about opioids.  PGP's research team, including multiple masters and PhD students from Columbia University, then answered each question using vetted sources of health information.
  2. Next, PGP's research team combed through public health and clinical research to identity important information the public needed to know, but which did not appear in Google's search data.
  3. Then, PGP reached out to individual subject matter experts, people with deep expertise in opioid addiction and treatment, and asked them to identify gaps in the Opioid Bot's knowledge.
  4. Finally, the bot was tested by a diverse group of students and faculty from Columbia University.

Testing of PGP's public health bots never really ends - the more people use a bot the better the bot becomes.

PGP's Opioid Chatbot is available free-of-charge to any organization in need of a simple, evidence-based way to get information about opioids to the public.  The Opioid Chatbot can be placed on 14 platforms, including websites, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Google Assistant, and more.  The look of the bot changes depending on an organization's needs.

 
 

Chatbots are going to change how public health works, and soon.

Here are a few articles you can read to familiarize yourself with this new technology.

  • A short explanatory video by HubSpot (YouTube)
  • The Value of Chatbots for Today's Consumers (Forbes)
  • Chatbots: From Shoe Sales to Healthcare (USF)
  • Chatbots and HIV Communications (HIV.gov)