Introducing My Choice Matters: What You NEED To Know

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The Barnstable County Regional Substance Abuse Council is launching My Choice Matters – a positive public education campaign that empowers everyone on Cape Cod to believe that My Choice Matters when it comes to the issue of substance use.

Substance use is a concern here on Cape Cod and across the nation. Specifically, here we have a high rate of alcohol use and are in the midst of a growing opioid epidemic that has many of our citizens concerned, and some scared. However, Cape Cod is addressing this issue head on because we matter, our children matter, our neighbors matter and our community matters. Just as substance use is a family problem disguised as an individual issue, when members of our community are suffering through this issue it affects all of us, and the community has to act. Addiction is not a choice – but choosing to do something about it is. When it comes to substance use, choice matters – our choices as individuals and our choices as a society.

Choice matters at every age, among every group, and at every level – whether it’s a teenager choosing not to drink or smoke or a parent who chooses to become educated about how alcohol and drugs effect their children, to people in active addition choosing to start on a path to recovery, to people in recovery sharing their stories and talking about the stigma of abuse, to our elected officials and community leaders making a choice to make a difference on substance use – choice matters. Our choices matter. Your choices matter. More importantly anything else, as an individual, no matter how small it may seem, My Choice Matters.

How Did We Get To My Choice Matters

My Choice Matters is a truly community driven undertaking. It started with a substance abuse council made up of leaders from every part of the Cape Cod community – government, parents, schools, hospitals, local businesses, the recovery community and more – that accepted the challenge of understanding the issue of substance use in our community. The baseline assessment this group commissioned and ultimately worked together to produced clearly identified a need for a community wide public education campaign for the general public on substance use. The committee also identified additional steps that could be undertaken to help address the issue, but a prevention campaign was identified as the first step.

To identify this, the media subcommittee of RSAC – Judy Scarafile, Brian Robbins, Lisa Guyon, Deb Heavlin, Mike Jackman, and Sam Kossow – was formed and a vendor was hired to perform research and ultimately design and execute the campaign. The committee and vendor performed research on existing campaigns and the demographics of Cape Cod, and undertook a series of focus groups in addition to the 5 youth focus groups that RSAC had just completed. Overall, a bottom up approach was taken to crafting a message and then the message and ads were tested again and again through out the process.

RSAC used a Social Norm framework in developing the messaging– which is about communicating accurate information about health behavior – which leads to more healthy behavior and addresses misperceptions & how misperceptions influence behavior. Most importantly, it doesn’t focus on negative behavior. Social norming is a science based method of public health messaging – there is strong evidence that a social norm approach is effective in health promotion & changing behavior. Over the next few months, Cape Cod will start to see the fruits of this labor.

What Nextfor My Choice Matters?

Over the next few months, RSAC will be rolling out messages aimed at 10 different segments of Cape Cod’s population. The council will also be launching a website – mychoicematters.net – that will become the hub of substance use information fro Cape Cod. The campaign will be launching Cape-wide with print, radio and online media and coordinated with others to work to affect real change.

Most importantly, the RSAC Parent Summit – Parenting to Prevent Substance Use – will take place on Novebmer 20th, giving Cape Cod area parents a forum in which to learn more about how to prevent and address substance use in their own homes.

mychoicemattersMy Choice Matters – Your Choice Matters. Our call to action – Please join us get very important public health message to all of Cape Cod. Click Here to Read More.

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