LIVES (Leveraging Impactful Videos to End Stigma)

From the hosts of Thursday  afternoon #CADAChat: Learn more about LIVES – Leveraging Impactful Videos to End Stigma. Here’s your opportunity to send a powerful, life-changing message.

Addiction affects 23.5 million Americans every year, yet only 11 percent receive the treatment they so desperately need. Why is this? While access and cost are barriers to treatment, public perception and stigma remain two of the biggest obstacles. The guilt, shame, judgment and isolation that can be felt by individuals struggling with addiction can make asking for help nearly impossible.

Here at Recovery Brands, we’ve been working to help end this stigma. In fact, we conducted some research to fully understand the far reaching and devastating impacts. The findings showed that 82.2% of individuals struggling with addiction have felt stigmatized and of these individuals, 73.9% have felt most stigmatized by their family. Additionally, individuals cited stigma as the second largest barrier to seeking treatment. It was second only to cost!

To get more people the help they need, we decided to do our part in eliminating the stigma. We realized that to really help combat the issue, we needed to bring a new message around addiction to help change perceptions. We also started to recognize that a lot of the PSAs of the past tended to be unintentionally stigmatizing. Many of the messages that individuals in our company grew up on included, “Just Say No to Drugs,” or “This is Your Brain, This is Your Brain on Drugs.” For individuals in the throes of addiction, these messages can be shameful or unrealistic. Saying “no” is not necessarily an available tool for someone struggling with addiction. Likewise, showing a picture of a frying egg may inspire feelings of shame or guilt instead of hope and encouragement to seek treatment. We knew that we needed a next-generation PSA that would bring a fresh, encouraging message to those who are struggling with addiction.

Instead of creating a new message ourselves, we decided to take it to the masses. After all, great ideas come from anyone, anywhere. Thus, Recovery Brands launched a three-month national campaign, the LIVES (Leveraging Impactful Videos to End Stigma) Challenge. The contest is designed to inspire and generate a new message surrounding addiction and behavioral health disorders. In short, we are seeking video submissions that will reduce the stigma surrounding the disease and encourage individuals struggling with addiction to seek treatment. Submissions close on May 23, 2016.

Two awards will be granted at the close of the LIVES Challenge: The Judge’s Choice Award and The People’s Choice Award. Each is paired with a prize of $5,000. To determine the Judge’s Choice Award, submissions will be vetted on creativity, impact, clarity and quality by a panel of third-party judges. The panel includes Chris Henderson, lead guitar player of Three Doors Down; Justin Luke Riley, president and CEO of Young People in Recovery; David Sheff, author of New York Times best-seller Clean; Anne Fletcher, M.S., R.D., a nationally known, award-winning health and medical writer, New York Times best-selling author, speaker, consultant, and author of Inside Rehab; Maia Szalavitz, neuroscience journalist writing for publications such as VICE and TIME, and author of Unbroken Brain; and Patty Powers, nationally recognized certified recovery coach, recovery coach for A&E TV Series Relapse. The video that receives the most public votes within a set period of time will be presented The People’s Choice Award.

If you’re inspired by our challenge and its mission, we ask that you join us in ending the stigma! To participate, visit If you can’t participate, but would like to help us spread the word, simply share our challenge with your followers via social, or purchase a Pura Vida bracelet on our LIVES Challenge website to donate funds to a charity that is continuing this mission. Any questions? Email

Thank you to Recovery Brands for sharing this inspiring opportunity to change lives and end stigma. MWM



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