In response to the national opioid epidemic that has killed tens of thousands of Americans and impacted millions more in the past year,  Fors Marsh Group, a Capitol Communicator sponsor, partnered with WPP and iHeartMedia to launch the National Opioid Action Coalition (NOAC), an initiative focused on reducing stigma as a barrier to addiction prevention, treatment and recovery.

Leveraging the marketing power and behavior change expertise of WPP, iHeartMedia and FMG, NOAC will help support local, state and federal opioid misuse and addiction prevention, treatment and recovery efforts by elevating the conversation around stigma.

Stigma represents a major issue in efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. The fear of being judged can prevent people with substance abuse disorders, or those at risk for developing them, from getting the help they need. It also affects how families, communities and companies address prevention and treatment issues. NOAC’s mission is to employ leading research and behavior change communications techniques to provoke engagement and action among target audiences, particularly in the private sector.

WPP agencies will develop creative for a series of public service announcements for NOAC for use by state governments and other partners. Additionally, NOAC is beta-testing a new mobile app to help people encountering opioid overdose incidents to rapidly locate and receive the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. These resources will be made available in the coming months.  “WPP’s operating companies have been involved in battling the opioid crisis on an ad hoc basis for some time,” said WPP CEO Mark Read. “NOAC formalizes our efforts and demonstrates our commitment to help spark a national conversation about the stigma of opioid addiction and inspire more companies to bring the weight of their brands to help combat one of the greatest public health epidemics in the US.”

“The opioid epidemic in the United States is one of the worst public health crises of our lifetime. Yet, despite record-breaking addiction and fatal overdose rates, only one in 10 Americans with a substance abuse disorder received treatment last year,” said Dr. Sean Marsh, CEO, FMG. “As a founding member of NOAC, FMG is committed to reducing stigma and will apply its expertise in behavior change and communication research to guide the development of effective, resonant messaging,” he said.

“This is an epidemic that is impacting families and individuals across America, and we want to harness our national reach to expand awareness, prevention, treatment and recovery efforts in communities across the country – and highlight local, state and federal government resources that are available to those fighting against this epidemic,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO, iHeartMedia.

NOAC will hold a debut event during the annual New York City Advertising Week on October 3, which will be moderated by Bobby Bones, iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated radio personality and #1 New York Times best-selling author. Alongside marketing and advocacy leaders, the panel will include United States Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, who will speak about current government initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic and ways that companies and celebrity influencers can partner with federal, state and local agencies to assist public efforts in addressing the opioid crisis.

To learn more about NOAC, visit


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.