Gov. Charlie Baker is rolling out a new statewide media campaign to combat the stigma surrounding drug addiction and abuse.
The five-week radio and billboard campaign seeks to educate Massachusetts residents against stigmatizing behaviors that prevent drug users from seeking treatment. Baker also hopes to encourage the families of addicts to be more open — by pressing the point that addiction is an illness — not a choice.
"Even the word 'addict' has so many connotations to it that, it's just, it's sad," says a woman named Stephanie in a clip from one ad. "And it's killing people. It's literally killing people."
Banners promoting the campaign are set to hang from municipal buildings in areas hit hard by opiates, including Gloucester, Haverhill, and Somerville.
The idea comes from Baker's Opioid Working Group, which in June offered dozens of recommendations on how to better deal with opiate addiction.
Federal grants are footing the $850,000 bill for the awareness campaign.