New Research: U.S. News Media Coverage of Opioid Crisis Features More Public Health Solutions
A study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined news coverage of the opioid crisis from 2013 through 2017 and found that treatment and harm reduction were the most frequently mentioned solutions. At the same time, the study found that several evidence-based public health approaches received scant coverage over the five-year period.
The paper was published online July 22, 2019 in the journal Preventive Medicine.
For their study, the researchers analyzed a random sample of 600 U.S. news stories published/aired by high circulation/viewership national and local print and television news outlets from 2013 to 2017.
The researchers found that 33 percent of the news stories mentioned treatment, 30 percent mentioned harm reduction and 24 percent mentioned prevention. However, several specific types of evidence-based public health solutions received little news coverage: 9 percent of news stories mentioned medication treatment for opioid use disorder. Five percent mentioned harm reduction solutions syringe services programs and two percent mentioned safe consumption sites.
“This is good progress,” says Dr. Beth McGinty, associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy Management and the paper’s lead author. “More coverage of key evidence-based solutions, like medication treatment for opioid use disorder, syringe services programs and safe consumption sites, would help educate the public and policymakers.”
Earlier research found that from 1998 to 2012, news media coverage of the opioid epidemic focused on criminal justice-oriented solutions.
New ALACRITY Center at Hopkins Focusing on the Health and Longevity of Youth and Adults with Mental Illness
Several faculty from our Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy Research leadership team recently obtained NIMH funding to launch the ALACRITY Center for Health and Longevity in Mental Illness. This new Center is funded by the NIMH Advanced Laboratories for Accelerating the Reach and Impact of Treatments for Youth and Adults with Mental Illness (ALACRITY) program. The Center focuses on improving physical health and reducing premature mortality among people with serious mental illness. Its primary research initiatives aim to improve implementation of evidence-based weight loss, tobacco smoking cessation, and cardiovascular care interventions in community mental health settings. The Center’s Methods Core is engaged in developing practical and scientific products to support scale-up of physical health interventions in community mental health settings. The new Center is led by CMHAPR faculty Gail Daumit (Director) and Beth McGinty (Associate Director), along with Liz Stuart (Co-Director of the ALACRITY Methods Core) and Colleen Barry (Investigator). Multiple faculty from across Johns Hopkins are also involved.
We look forward to seeing all the great work this Center will be doing over the coming years!