Public relations strategies for companies generally work to guide what the public knows about the organization. The aim is to inform the public, prospective customers, investors, partners, employees, and other stakeholders in a way that persuades them to maintain a positive or favorable view about the organization. In our field, most of the public learns about substance use disorders and their treatment from popular news media outlets including TV, radio, newspapers, social media, etc.
This session will make the case that our obligation to the public is larger than that of other types of organizations and that our strategies must focus on educating the public about our field, substance use disorders and their treatment generally, not just promote one particular organization. Without active input from the field, we leave it to others to guide public opinion on such important topics as whether addiction is a disease, whether treatment is effective, and the value of various treatment and harm reduction strategies. Industry leadership must make the effort to help educate the public, otherwise those outside of our field, unknowledgeable about the science of addiction and its treatment, will continue to influence public opinion.
Deni Carise, PhD, has been a part of the recovery community for over 30 years. She is Chief Scientific Officer of Recovery Centers of America and an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at UPENN. Dr Carise previously served as Deputy Chief Clinical Officer of CRC Health Group and Chief Clinical Officer at Phoenix House. She was an NIH-funded scientist and Director of the Treatment Systems Section at Treatment Research Institute. She has worked extensively internationally, has been the recipient of numerous NIH grants, and has published over 100 articles, books, and chapters. She is quoted regularly by major media outlets.