Introduction: An American Health Crisis
Over the past 15 years, increasing numbers of Americans have been prescribed opioids for pain management. Sales of prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999. So have deaths related to prescription opioids. So have heroin-related deaths.
APTA's #ChoosePT campaign raises awareness about the dangers of prescription opioids and encourages consumers and prescribers to choose safer alternatives like physical therapy, consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines released in March 2016 urging nondrug treatment for most chronic pain conditions.
The resources provided in this toolkit allow you to extend the reach and impact of the #ChoosePT campaign in a variety of ways, ranging from free social media engagement to paid advertising.
Questions? If you have questions about how to support the campaign or use these tools, contact APTA's Public Relations department.
All #ChoosePT messages and advertisements direct users to APTA's official consumer information website, MoveForwardPT.com. A landing page specific to the campaign provides vast resources about the opioid epidemic and the benefits of physical therapy: MoveForwardPT.com/ChoosePT.
The landing page also features a downloadable pain profile consumers can fill out and show to their health care providers to facilitate conversations about their pain and treatment.
Please support the campaign by driving traffic to the #ChoosePT landing page.
Educate your patients/clients and members of your community by sharing this 1-page handout: Physical Therapy vs Opioids (.pdf)
APTA will promote the campaign primarily through MoveForwardPT.com's social media profiles on Facebook (/MoveForwardPT), Twitter (@MoveForwardPT), and Pinterest (/MoveForwardPT). Please follow those accounts and share our posts.
Use the #ChoosePT hashtag in your social media posts promoting the campaign.
Download #ChoosePT cover/header photos to post atop your Facebook or Twitter profile: Facebook cover photo | Twitter header photo
Download any of the following graphics to use in your posts (additional graphics will be provided in future months):
Following and sharing social media posts from APTA's MoveForwardPT accounts (see "Social Media" above) is an easy way to extend the reach of the campaign. But as you network with other health care providers, reach out to chronic pain support groups in your area, and educate community leaders, here are some key messages you can convey:
- The increase in prescription opioid use is unmistakable.
According to the CDC, in 2012 health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication, enough for every American adult to have their own bottle of pills
- The risk for misusing prescription opioids is real.
According to the CDC, every day, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.
- The risk for addiction is real.
According to the CDC, as many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long-term for noncancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction.
- The risk for heroin use is real.
According to the CDC, among new heroin users, about 3 out of 4 report abusing prescription opioids before using heroin.
- Physical therapy is a safe and effective alternative to opioids for long-term pain management.
In March 2016, the CDC released guidelines urging nonopioid approaches for the management of chronic pain.
- There are some situations in which opioid therapy is appropriate.
The CDC guidelines indicate that opioids may be appropriates for situations including cancer treatment, palliative care, end-of-life care, and certain acute care situations. Still, the CDC guidelines also suggest pairing opioid therapy with nonopioid therapy, and their prescriber checklist recommends trying nonopioid therapy first.
- Patients have a choice about the kind of treatment they receive.
Before accepting a prescription for opioids, patients should talk to their health care providers about related risks and safer alternatives.
Tip: You can download many of the above statistics from MoveForwardPT.com.
Patient Pain Profile
One of the resources available at the #ChoosePT webpage is a downloadable pain self-assessment, including a 5-day pain diary. Patients are encouraged to fill it out and bring it with them to appointments with their health care providers in order to facilitate conversations about their treatment. If you host a community event, provide copies of the pain profile handout, which also includes statistics about the opioid epidemic.
APTA is placing national online ads and targeted print ads and billboards.
These ads are available for your use use in a variety of standard sizes (additional ads will be provided in future months).
APTA may be able to adapt the size of an advertisement upon request, but the appearance of these ads cannot be modified or customized in order to remain consistent with the national campaign. All ad traffic should be directed to MoveForwardPT.com.
Let us help: If you're considering running paid advertisements in your area, or would like to donate to extend the reach of APTA's national online advertising efforts, contact APTA's Public Relations department at firstname.lastname@example.org. We may be able to make recommendations to improve results, or create a greater impact by combining contributions.
Public Service Announcements (PSAs)
PSAs are short, educational messages that elevate awareness about important issues. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires broadcast media to serve "in the public interest." Most stations use PSAs as a way to meet this requirement.
APTA's TV and radio PSAs will be distributed to media outlets across the country and could air as early as late September.
The 60-second TV PSA is available online for you to share via social media or embed on your website.
APTA is seeking patients willing to discuss how physical therapy has helped them manage their pain and improve their quality of life. If you know of a patient who might be willing to share their experience, please encourage them to submit their story.
PT/PTA Fact Sheet
Consumers aren't the only ones who need to be aware of the prescription opioid and heroin crisis. To help educate physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, APTA has developed a 1-page overview for PTs and PTAs, including an opioid awareness checklist. PTNow also has resources related to clinical practice and the opioid epidemic.
Downloadable #ChoosePT Sign
Download and print the 8.5x11 #ChoosePT sign for events or photos that you can post on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts. Remember to use the #ChoosePT hashtag in your social media posts.
Solving the opioid epidemic will take more than raising public awareness about the risks of prescription opioid use. Improving patient access to physical therapy is essential. APTA's position paper on opioid abuse and the role of physical therapy is a terrific resource to utilize with policymakers.
Ideas and Opportunities
The #ChoosePT campaign will continue throughout 2016 and into 2017. There is no shortage of ways to support the campaign and raise awareness about this national public health issue.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Newsletters and message boards: Use text and links from the #ChoosePT webpages to educate your patients and peers about the opioid and heroin epidemics.
- Community events: Print copies of the Pain Profile and other resources, and distribute them at community health fairs and related events.
- Community outreach: Find a chronic pain support group in your area and ask for a meeting with the coordinator. Reach out to local addiction specialists and ensure they know about the benefits of physical therapy as an alternative to opioids for pain management. Also reach out to community leaders and ask them to support the campaign with something as simple as a tweet or Facebook post.
- Utilize awareness months: September is National Pain Awareness Month and October is National Physical Therapy Month. Use these awareness months to your advantage when planning your activities.
- Op-eds and letters to the editor: Contact your local newspaper to determine the word count and submission process for op-eds. Op-eds are personal opinion pieces, but they are more likely to be placed if they are authentic, conversational, and persuasive, not self-serving or combative. Focus your piece on the epidemic's local impact.