Finding Value in an Unknown Place

How addiction education and social media come together to save lives

Being a Communication Major has always been easy for me. Theories? No problem. Group projects? Lead, follow or get out of the way. 20 page research papers? Give me 5 hours and 10 lattes.

Though all things communication studies has come naturally to me (Thank God) all things social media has not. Social media classes were not and still are not on my list of favorite things, shocking I know being a millennial and all. Social media and communication studies come hand and hand especially in the new age of social media marketing. I found that though I don’t have to be social media obsessed, I still have to be social media savvy and have the basic knowledge to get me out the restaurant world and into the big girl world.

I have been a marketing intern for the past two semesters at a addiction rehab facility. When taking the position, I figured I would do the usual “interny” things; making copies, typing documents and coffee runs. I didn’t realize that I was there to actually market and be a part of a much needed team effort to jumpstart the marketing program.

Working in the recovery field especially for free, hasn’t been what I or anyone else for that matter would classify as “fun” but unfortunately there is an opiate problem in our area and someone needs to do the dirty work and help those suffering. It is essential to the client, new and old, and also the business that marketing remain a vital part of a days work.

When brainstorming how to properly market rehabilitation, what works, what doesn’t and who are we even marketing to, it became difficult to decipher the direction to go.

Social media was the first thing that I begrudgingly knew we needed to conquer to reach new clients and let the world know what our facility was doing to stop the heroin epidemic in the Mahoning Valley.

Everyone might not have stable home, so mail outs didn’t work, marketing to other related facilities was once the game plan, but not everyone sees a mental health counselor or even their family doctor on the regular; but one thing was certain. Almost everyone, rich, poor, recovering or currently in treatment has a smartphone.

Thinking of valuable content for social media soon became the major issue and debated topic in our marketing meetings. We often asked the question, who cares? Besides the client and those in the recovery field who genuinely cares?

I myself didn’t even know that question. What value does our business bring to people who are not battling addiction or in this field?

After much debate and consideration I thought about a specific word I learned in my social media class, value. Whether a person is a heroin addict, a recovery counselor, or a fiancial advisor, the information our company has to offer has value for all, because you never know when addiction will affect you.

There is value in education. It is imperative to know signs, symptoms, and common behaviors of an addiction, but is it also even more important to know who to call, and how to get help for yourself, your son, or the cashier at the corner gas station.

Social media has brought new clients to the facility looking for help. Social Media has provided an outlet for families and friends of addicts, a safe space to ask questions, access local resources and even help for themselves. Most importantly social media has put a face to the disease.

Who is a heroin addict?

Is it the weird guy that walks up and down Market Street? Maybe the girl with the tattoos and piercings sitting in the food court at the mall?

A heroin addict is the lawyer who had a back injury and couldn’t stop taking opiates.

A heroin addict is the teacher with chronic pain and a depleted bank account.

A heroin addict is a 22-year-old kid who was lonely and sad and needed an outlet to take the pain away.

An ADDICT is someone you and I love.

Social Media has helped to expose and dismiss the stigma of who an addict is. With the mass audience and compelling content, Facebook has become an outlet for many loved ones. Facebook gives an oppturnity to those who were left behind a chance to share the story of their honor role, soccer star of a kid; to brag about their #1 dad who was led down the wrong path, and their troubled friend who never could get it together.

Devastating loss and a common misconception provided by mass media and people alike has given parents the opportunity to make the stories of their childrens’ battles public. Their efforts are to stop the stigma, spread awareness, and most importantly save lives.

Learning about this effort by parents devastated by the losses of their children to a horrible disease struck a cord with our marketing team.

Following suit, we have decided to open our Facebook page to parents in the Youngstown area wishing to do the same. We also are in the works of adding a blog section to our website and intend to feature a success story of one of our clients monthly.

Addiction education is necessary to end the stigma, to spread awareness, and to save lives.

The value in education about the heroin epidemic is priceless and can change someone’s life one day.

if one person reads a Facebook story posted by a mother or father about the loss of their child that post has brought value and was worth the effort, if one click has the ability to save someone’s child….it was worth it.

To read the touching stories of those who have lost their battle to addiction published by their parents click here

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction visit the New Day Recovery Website for help