The 2020 Columbia Capstone team, “Combating the Opioid Epidemic through Effective Messaging and Prevention Strategies,” developed a small, targeted multi-media campaign plan aimed at substance abuse prevention and well-being for high school students (grades 9-12). While the primary audience is comprised of high-school aged youth (grades 9-12) in critical opioid-abuse zip codes, parents and older family members, who statistically face greater risk of overdose, serve as a secondary audience. Complementing the client’s long-term goal of preventing a new generation from developing substance abuse issues, this project aimed to help New Yorkers in Staten Island and the Bronx make safer, better informed choices for their health and wellbeing.
Building upon three years of research done in collaboration with New York City’s Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor (SNP) and the District Attorneys’ Offices for the Bronx and Staten Island, the strategic campaign capitalized on the well-documented link between substance abuse, mental health, prescription drugs, and social interactions. The campaign strategy seeks to empower youth to better recognize risks of substance abuse, identify local intervention actors for help, and develop alternative coping mechanisms. The campaign plan was comprised of a creative brief, action plan, proposed timeline and a beta website with sample campaign content. The final report provided recommendations for targeted messaging, identification of an appropriate slogan and logos, along with partners for further implementation and potential scaling.