Signs of progress in New Jersey’s campaign against heroin, opioids
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While the number of opioid overdose deaths in New Jersey has not dropped since Gov. Chris Christie began his push to publicize the help that’s available for addicts, his radio and TV ads are generating a great deal of interest and attention
According to Maggie Moran, a managing partner of Kivvit, a national communications data-driven public affairs firm, back in March, before the Reach NJ radio, TV and print campaign began, there were 921 calls made to the state's addiction helpline. After the ads began in April, that number increased by 159 percent, to 2,385 contacts, she said.
She also said that in March there were about a thousand visits to the Reach NJ website, but that number changed dramatically once the Reach NJ campaign began.
“From April 5 forward, when we started to do the advertising, we’ve seen 57,000 unique visits to the website,” she said.
She added the average visit to the website was 5 minutes and 48 seconds, which she called “a remarkable amount of time.”
Moran also said that during April there were more than 1,187,000 online engagements, which means “an observer of the content either liked it, reposted it, shared it or commented on it, so they’re interacting with the content.”
She said people are looking for resources to help those who need them, for information on how the average New Jerseyan can help stop the epidemic and for signs of addiction, “so the Reach NJ campaign has really elevated the issue quite dramatically.”
Angelo Valente, the executive director of the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey agrees.
“People in the state of New Jersey are becoming aware that this is an issue that they can be dealing with through resources that exist like Reach New Jersey,” he said.
“It’s extremely encouraging when people are seeking help and identifying the problem that exists maybe within their home or within their community. What it’s doing is really breaking down the walls of stigma that this disease has had for so long," Valente said.
He said if you look at epidemics that have taken hold over the years, finding solutions takes time, and the current opioid and heroin epidemic is no different.
“I think that we’re talking about a more long term picture as far as seeing great success, and I believe we will have great success in slowing down and eventually ending this epidemic,” he said.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com
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