Philadelphia, PA — April 4, 2019 — At an event held at its Philadelphia headquarters, the Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation) announced the expansion of “Someone You Know,” a grassroots and public health awareness campaign that is reducing the stigma of opioid addiction, inspiring hope, and empowering others to seek help and treatment. Ten new diverse stories will be added to the campaign, including several that address how college students are affected by opioid addiction. At the same event, Independence Blue Cross (Independence) announced the creation of an associate group for individuals touched by addiction.
Residents throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania will be able to interact with mobile listening stations featuring inspiring stories of local residents who shared their journey through the “Someone You Know” campaign. The mobile exhibit will travel to colleges, corporate campuses, and community events.
The Independence Blue Cross Foundation also launched a “Someone You Know” podcast featuring intimate conversations with campaign participants. Episode one explores the journeys of Malik and Lisa and the power of community and connection in reducing stigma and ultimately inspiring hope. It is now available at ibxfoundation.org/movement and anywhere podcasts are found. Additional episodes will be available beginning in May.
Understanding the need to address the stigma of substance abuse in the workplace, Independence created the “Someone You Know” associate group, where individuals touched by addiction can share their personal experiences about recovery, the loss of a loved one, or supporting someone in treatment.
“Recovering from a substance abuse problem is never easy. But the struggles those in recovery face can be compounded by the stigma they face at work and in society. Our ‘Someone You Know’ campaign has tried to shine a light on – and reduce – this stigma,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, CEO of Independence. “With the launch of the ‘Someone You Know’ Group at Independence, we want to offer employees an opportunity to talk about the challenges they experience or have dealt with in the past. Sometimes having a caring person to talk to makes all the difference in the world.”
“‘Someone You Know’ gives us hope,” said Lorina Marshall-Blake, VP Community Affairs and President of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation. “Together we are changing the narrative of stigma. Recovery from opioid addiction is possible.”
“It’s a powerful feeling knowing that you played a part in changing someone’s life and that you are connected to others who are watching you. Being part of ‘Someone You Know’ has made me even stronger and reinforced my belief that I have something to reach and hope for,” said Malik Williams, business owner and person in recovery. Malik is employed with One Day at a Time and is pursuing a double major in psychology and behavioral health.
Through its Supporting Treatment and Overdose Prevention (STOP) initiative, the Independence Blue Cross Foundation has awarded nearly $1 million dollars to fight the opioid epidemic through a strategic approach and regional partnerships, including:
- Emergency Room “Warm Handoff” Programs: The Foundation commissioned a regional study to examine the utilization and effectiveness of warm hand-off programs that connect overdose survivors immediately with treatment programs.
- Supporting Area Nonprofits: Awarding grants to increase awareness and access to effective community-based opioid treatment and prevention programs.
- Prescription Drug Takeback Programs: Joining forces with the Pennsylvania Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs and Walgreens to raise awareness of safe medication disposal sites and fund the installation of accessible safe medication disposal kiosks in our region.
About the Independence Blue Cross Foundation:
The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is a charitable, private foundation, whose mission is leading solutions for a healthier community. The Foundation targets the following areas of impact:
- Securing the Blue Safety Net: Improving access to quality, affordable health care in medically underserved areas.
- Bolstering the Health Care Workforce: Advancing the nursing workforce through education and professional development.
- Addressing Health Priorities: Finding local solutions to national health issues through research and cross-sector partnerships. Currently focusing on the opioid epidemic through the Supporting Treatment and Overdose Prevention (STOP) initiative.
- Community Innovation: Supporting pilot projects that pursue new approaches to existing health-focused challenges in the community.
Independence Blue Cross