By Joey Berlin
Federal data estimate that during 2020, more than 11 million Texans were living with substance use disorder. A new $23 million public awareness campaign from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is aiming to keep that number from growing.
The campaign, which HHSC announced in a March 8 release, will focus on “reducing stigma, building community connection and resilience, and changing social norms to prevent substance use.”
HHSC awarded contracts totaling $23.2 million to two entities as part of the campaign:
- $16.7 million to FleishmanHillard, a public relations and marketing agency, which will focus the campaign on Texas youth, young adults, and families who are most at risk, as well as community leaders who can reach them; and
- $6.5 million to the Center for Health Communication at The University of Texas at Austin to develop an interactive digital tool to improve the referral process for existing substance use disorder treatment, prevention, and recovery services, and to conduct research to support messaging for the prevention campaign.
HHSC says the campaign aims to reach about 2.5 million Texans. The funds are coming from nearly $253 million HHSC received in federal substance abuse prevention and treatment funds during 2021, including from the American Rescue Plan Act.
This article was originally published by the Texas Medical Association on March 15, 2022.