In summer 2017, Kentucky and Ohio were tied for the third-worst states in the country for drug overdose deaths. The stress placed on hospitals, coupled with the need for early access to treatment, put Northern Kentucky-based St. Elizabeth Healthcare at the forefront of the heroin epidemic in Greater Cincinnati.
In August 2017, “The Cincinnati Enquirer” approached St. Elizabeth with an opportunity to underwrite an ongoing project, “Heroin: Reclaiming Lives,” a regional look at the opioid crisis. The project started with “Seven Days of Heroin,” which chronicled an “ordinary” week for people dealing with the heroin crisis. In return, St. Elizabeth received print sponsored content opportunities.
Developed with the theme “hope” as a guidepost, the campaign’s goals were to position St. Elizabeth as a thought leader and educate the community about the heroin epidemic, its toll on families and the community, the challenges of treatment and the availability of recovery resources. Vehr worked with St. Elizabeth to develop sources, conduct interviews and draft content on topics ranging from syringe access to the path to opiate addiction. Each piece included calls to action to contact a 24/7 helpline for families and visit stelizabeth.com/hope for more resources.
The first four sponsored content pieces were delivered to 587,544 “Enquirer” subscribers and collectively drove 4,670 visits to stelizabeth.com/hope. St. Elizabeth continues to be the only healthcare system in the Greater Cincinnati market to underwrite the “Enquirer” coverage of the opioid crisis, which has earned the prestigious Pulitzer Prize.