Overdose Epidemic and The Media's Role

Dear Media,

You are part of the problem.

As a champion for those battling addiction, The Addiction Advocates is sickened by the way the media covers addiction in our country. The lack of help provided by almost all of media outlets in this country is part of a vicious cycle. 

During the 24/7 news cycle and the nightly news, we hear about the “heroin epidemic” plaguing our country. The headline or opening line goes something like this, “Last month 20+ people died in our city due to overdosing on heroin or opioids.” This fills local people with the fear and pain of what is happening surrounding addiction in our country, yet provides no help to the viewers, many of whom know of someone struggling with addiction. Stating the problem without revealing the countless solutions is telling only part of the story. At its best, this is irresponsible journalism. At its worst, it’s fear mongering for ratings.

What if, rather than scaring the viewers, the news media used this airtime to offer an outlet to those in need of help? The Addiction Advocates is suggesting the media provide a resource for people facing addiction and their frightened family and friends. Telling the public about the issues we face in this country is important, but it fails to address the more important concerns: What is being done about it, and how do we help those who are losing the battle with addiction? With such a far reaching audience, the media could – and should – be a large part of solution, not the problem.

As an advocacy group with free services for those suffering from addiction and their families, we speak with people every day across the country. Once we are able to help them find the treatment center that makes sense and their lives calm down a bit, we are almost always told, “We didn’t know there was a resource like this for us.” As much as we market ourselves and strive to reach those who need us, there are thousands who need help who do not know we are here. Yet, those same thousands are made fully aware of the drug epidemic in our country on their nightly news program.

Imagine trying to find a safe, affordable treatment center for yourself or a loved one without having any knowledge of what is best for the specific situation or even which centers are effective. When someone calls a treatment center, they are speaking to an intake person who is focused on getting them into that center. The Addiction Advocates provide treatment recommendations based on our client’s personal and specific needs. This sets our clients up for a better than average success rate in treatment. But we can’t reach everyone on our own, and those struggling with addiction and the people who love them are confronted with staggering, seemingly insurmountable statistics on the television rather than answers and help.

This is why we are calling on all media outlets. You hold the power here. You own the coveted time on-air and the access to social media. You could truly change lives and help families struggling.

Media, you have the power to help innumerable people and counteract the drug and addiction epidemic in this country by providing information. Call us today to discuss what information you need to take this critical step, and we will do our best to help. 

Thank you,

Marcus Hansen, CEO, Advocate

The Addiction Advocates

Email: Marcus@addictionadvocates.com