Washington State health care organizations partner to reduce stigma, encourage support for people suffering from substance use disorder

February 15, 2024

The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) will partner with Thriving Together NCW and the Grand Columbia Health Alliance to launch the BeThere campaign across Central and Eastern Washington to reduce stigma and encourage support for people suffering from substance use disorder.

The campaign will run through February and March 2024 with regional billboards, social media posts, and radio and television spots. Messaging will target Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Lincoln and Okanogan counties. Learn more about the BeThere campaign at www.thrivingtogether.org/bethere.

“For each person struggling with substance use disorder, there is an entire social network that is impacted,” WSHA Senior Vice President of Safety and Quality Darcy Jaffe said. “Recovery is possible, and there are resources available to help. Support networks are key, and we want to empower loved ones to be there for those suffering from substance use disorder, because research has repeatedly shown that strong social networks lead to better outcomes.”

“To truly understand the impact of substance use disorder, one must recognize the intricate web of relationships that surround each individual in their struggle. As someone with lived experience, I’ve witnessed firsthand the importance of a supportive community,” Thriving Together NCW’s Recovery Coach Network Manager Joseph Hunter said. “Stigma creates barriers, making individuals feel isolated and reluctant to seek treatment. The BeThere campaign is a vital step towards dismantling these barriers, fostering a sense of belonging, and empowering people to embrace the support they need for recovery.”

“Supporting a loved one suffering from a substance use disorder can feel intimidating,” said Dr. Matthew Lockwood, Samaritan Healthcare ED medical director. “BeThere reminds all of us that no one should feel alone in their recovery journey. Grand Columbia Health Alliance emergency departments and behavioral health centers stand ready with our community partners to help you help those you love. With local clinic support, we can assist in getting your loved one the help they need as close to home as possible. Thank you for being there. Please, know we’re here to help.”

Drug overdose deaths in the U.S. spiked in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 109,000 deaths in 2022 alone. This has led to a decrease in life expectancy.

The Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) will fund the campaign. RCORP is a national program that supports prevention, treatment and recovery among people in rural communities struggling with substance use disorder and opioid use disorder. It supports a network of grantees in rural communities — such as nonprofits, hospitals and schools — to offer training and technical assistance to enact change in their communities.

About the Washington State Hospital Association

The Washington State Hospital Association advocates for and provides value to members in achieving their missions and improving the health of their communities. WSHA represents more than 100 hospitals and health systems in the state, including those that are non-profit, investor-owned, and county, state and military hospitals. The Quadruple Aim guides our members and our work as we strive to reduce the cost of health care and improve the patient experience, the clinician experience and the health of our communities. Visit www.wsha.org for more information.

About Thriving Together NCW

Thriving Together NCW recognizes that the overlapping health and social issues our local communities face are too complex to be solved by one person or organization alone. Guided by the mission of advancing health and wellbeing, Thriving Together NCW serves as a connection point, bringing partners from across the North Central Washington region together under the shared goal of all people and places thriving – no exceptions. For more information, please visit thrivingtogether.org.

About Grand Columbia Health Alliance

Grand Columbia Health Alliance brings together Columbia Basin Hospital (Ephrata), East Adams Rural Healthcare (Ritzville), Odessa Memorial Healthcare Center (Odessa), Othello Community Hospital (Othello), Quincy Valley Medical Center (Quincy) and Samaritan Healthcare (Moses Lake) to serve the health care needs of our communities and ensure that health care remains local and sustainable. By working together — utilizing our ability to collaborate, coordinate medical resources and share ideas, technology, and best practices across organizational lines — we fuel our collective vision for high-quality and cost-effective patient-care excellence. Right here, close to home, close to family, close to healing. For more information, please visit grandcolumbiahealth.org.


This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number GA145991, the Rural Communities Opioid Response‐Implementation totaling $1,000,000 with 25% percent financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government.


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