Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Internet Outreach Ideas for Overdose Awareness and Prevention

You may have noticed the nifty "overdose prevention program locator" on the bottom of each page of this blog. There's also a tab for it at the top of the screen. Its creator, Maya Doe-Simkins, provides info about it, and other ideas for internet outreach, in the post below:

The South Boston Hope and Recovery Coalition has an important physical presence in the neighborhood known as “Southie”- a neighborhood that has long struggled with high rates of overdose and suicide. But because the Coalition members know that some members of the small community might not want to physically visit the Coalition offices due to fear of judgment or reproach from neighbors, the Coalition developed a website that has many different resources for people who would prefer to get information anonymously over the internet. On International Overdose Awareness Day, we added an additional function to the website: a search function for overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND) programs in the United States. We asked all the OENDs that we know of if they wanted to be listed as a resource and now people can enter their location and get results that show the closest programs.

We realized that we needed to make sure that people who might be interested in
OEND programs know about this search function so they can go get signed up, so we began to do some promotion through Facebook and Twitter and also with targeted internet outreach. The two “places” where we’ve had success with internet outreach are posting referrals in the “Comments” section of news articles about overdose or drug use/abuse and posting referrals on drug information forums where people are sharing huge amounts of drug use information. To remain on top of current news about overdose, setting up a Google Alert was useful. Daily, this is what our inbox looks like:

Then I can quickly review what is being said in the news and blogs and choose where is a good article to post a referral
, like this one that was in response to the New York Times Small Fixes article about naloxone kits:

This is a good way to raise awareness among people who care about overdose, like loved ones of drug users or professionals who work with substance users.

good way to talk with people who get their drug use information on the internet is to sign up for an account with a drug forum or a place where people can answer and respond to questions that people post. There are relatively few conversations about naloxone on these sites (though overdose is a common topic). A few examples:

In the month that we have been doing internet outreach for a few hours a week, we have tripled the number of visitors to the hopeandrecovery.org website (not including paid traffic). We think that we are better serving the visitors, too, because the bounce rate has dropped from 66% to 37% in the month that we have been doing internet outreach. “Bounce rate” is the percent of visitors who com
e to a page and "bounce" (exit the site) from the same page without diving down into the rest of the site; effectively, this means it wasn’t what they were searching for in terms of content.

The South Boston Hope and Recovery Coalition can pass along a
piece of code that can be pasted into any website so that the box with the search function appears on your own website. It will look similar to the image on the right and it shouldn’t take your web administrator more than a few minutes. If interested, please send an email to: info@hopeandrecovery.org.

Finally, if you operate an overdose prevention and naloxone program that isn’t listed, but you would like it to be, please send an email to: info@hopeandrecovery.org. The search function is currently showing results for US-based programs, but we are thinking of expanding to other countries - let us know if you have thoughts!

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