Berks County Innovators

We were excited to hear from Jackie Steed, Prevention Program Manager, and Jennifer Kaucher, Prevention Specialist, of the Council on Chemical Abuse. In serving as the Berks County SCA, they have used PA Stop in creative situations and worked to create adaptions suitable for their own specific audiences. 

1. TELL US ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION. WHAT DO YOU DO? WHO DO YOU SERVE?

We are the Council on Chemical Abuse, the Single County Authority (SCA) for Berks County. Our staff provide addiction prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery guidance to the people of Berks, similar to other SCAs. We’re a bit different, though, because we have eight full time prevention specialists that provide direct service. That’s what makes us a little unique.

2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN USING PA STOP IN YOUR WORK?

We found out about it in 2015, later in the year. We liked it so much because we knew it would be consistent messaging across the state. Shortly after, we had printed brochures. So it’s been three years now.

3. TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE WAYS THAT YOU HAVE UTILIZED PA STOP TO SPREAD INFORMATION ABOUT OPIOIDS.

We started with brochures. At pretty much the same time, we started a billboard campaign. Then in late summer/fall 2016 we launched a really big campaign with billboards, posters, radio spots on local stations, cable TV ads, and online pop-up ads.

Each school in our region received a packet containing a poster and printed brochures. We used the billboard files to print as posters. We did a SAP development day in the summer—we do that every year. A majority of the SAP professional who attend are from middle and high schools, but we reach K-12.

We had a little prior experience with media campaigns. Before PA Stop, we did these things every once in a while, but it was our first big campaign. Already having the materials made it easier, then we just had to work with different contacts for aspects such as radio or television.

We had a high school group, a club for future health professionals, really latch on to the campaign last year. It was a group of students attending technical school who were going into health care professions. They wanted to raise awareness about opioids. We offered them several different ideas, but PA Stop was their favorite. They got really involved, they really liked the “Break the Connection” pill bottle image design. They put PA Stop materials up all around the community.

One challenge we ran into was that we have a large Spanish-speaking population. The Reading school district has a significant Latino population. So, we wanted billboards and posters in both English and Spanish. We had to reach out to BOOM Creative to get the billboards translated.

Most recently, we used the workplace PA Stop materials in partnership with the Berks Opiate Coalition or SOS Berks. Their education committee reached out to employers, supervisors and managers. We had the workplace toolkit translated into Spanish through a partnership with The Hispanic Center of Reading and Berks County. The caregiver toolkit is in the process of translation as well.

4. WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST EXCITING OR SUCCESSFUL WAYS THAT PA STOP HAS HELPED YOU ACHIEVE YOUR MISSION?

The workplace education initiative that we’re doing right now has been going very well. Without that toolkit, we’d be developing things on our own from scratch. This helps us reach our target audience in the workplace as well as raise community awareness. It’s a good lead-in to introducing our prescription drug drop boxes and takeback days.

5. WE ARE TRYING TO HELP ORGANIZATIONS AND SCAS UNDERSTAND HOW THEY CAN USE PA STOP IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE OR WORDS OF WISDOM, BASED ON YOUR EXPERIENCE?

It’s really great to be part of consistent messaging that appears across the state. And it’s really easy to use. Anyone can download files and print them out.

We use web advertising and social media. We used the pop-up ads on the website for a local newspaper. When I think about SCAs and other organizations that don’t have big budget, online advertising is a great tool.