The opioid crisis has changed our communities dramatically across the country. With so many different channels for Americans’ to become addicted to opioids, it’s at the point where those who have taken an oath to do no harm, might be doing the most long-term harm with their prescribing practices. With the addition of the instant life and death consequences fentanyl attributes to the equation, the fight many healthcare entities are now facing is a completely new, complicated and ever-evolving task at hand.

As healthcare companies, treatment facilities, recovery organizations, drug testing labs, and everyday communities across the nation we must now rapidly accelerate our views on how we view Substance Use Disorder. At Aspenti Health we have a dedicated social mission focused on this very cause.

“We enhance the quality of life for our patients and their communities.  We acknowledge the responsibility of social stewardship and the importance of partnership and collaboration, as we promote positive change, improve well-being, and create a better world for all.”

Aspenti Health ™ Social Mission

Since the launch of the Aspenti Health brand in July of this year, our drug testing lab has done everything it can to enhance the quality of life for our patients and communities we serve.  With a focus on patient care, this September’s Recovery Month we hosted Patient Appreciation Day Lunches across our 10 state-wide Patient Service Centers, providing a meal for our patients who may be experiencing food insecurity. To open the eyes of the public through mainstream media this fall Aspenti sponsored a content campaign with Seven Days to shed light on the incredible efforts the VT recovery community is doing while the shadow of the opioid crisis blankets the state. Seven Days worked in close coordination with Aspenti as an incredible editorial partner in helping elevate the narrative of the committed work of Vermont’s Recovery Community partners.

With the launch of our new brand we shared our story and our mission of social impact, remaining open to opportunities on how to best contribute to the reduction of stigma surrounding Substance Use Disorder, an opportunity presented itself to us in the form of a challenge. That challenge was granted by Gene Richards, Director of Aviation at the Burlington International Airport. Earlier in the summer Aspenti purchased ad space at the airport to build awareness on our new brand and share the story of our company, once a pillar of the recovery community relaunched to a continue to serve. As we worked with Gene and the airport staff on the awareness campaign, Gene learned more about Aspenti’s social mission initiatives. Gene quickly became inspired and challenged us to collaborate with community members on how to turn a wing outside of the north terminal into a message of hope and change. Without a doubt in our minds, we accepted the challenge to transform the space.

We quickly got to work inviting a variety of recovery community members, behavior change experts, and city officials to a discussion group to best develop the message conscience Vermonters would hear and respond to.

The discussion group soon agreed;

Substance Use Disorder knows no race, lifestyle, economic status, age, or religion. The stigma surrounding Substance Use Disorder prevents many from seeking treatment as they believe they don’t fit the “junkie” or “addict” stereotype.

In close collaboration with our community partners, Aspenti developed the messaging;

“the only choice in addiction is how we choose to address it together.”

Vermonters are special. When our neighbors are stranded by tragedy we rally around them, whether it be hurricane Irene or the everyday occurrence of helping pull a car out of a snowbank in the middle of a Vermont winter. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding Substance Use Disorder tends to alter the way people react to someone who may be suffering from an opioid addiction.

After months of coordinated work with community partners and the Burlington International Airport, “The Change Corridor” opened on Monday October 2nd. Proudly attending the opening were our community partners, our congressional leaders Senator Leahy and Congressman Welch and City of Burlington leaders Mayor Weinberger, Burlington Chief of Police Del Pozo, and Gene Richards.With almost no branding insight, “The Change Corridor” is a prime example of how Aspenti Health puts our community first in addressing our social mission. We focus our efforts on the welfare of our patients, collaborations with communities, and most importantly impacting measurable change. We invite everyone to take a few minutes of their day to stop at the airport, open to the public to observe the exhibit and how people react to a heartening message of choice. We invite everyone in the presence of the Change Corridor to reflect on how the messaging and reactions make us feel about our own views on Substance Use Disorder and if they align with other health issues plaguing the nation.

When we choose to engage we can make real change.

Dan Brown

Dan is Aspenti Health's Brand Coordinator. He leads our efforts to ensure the Aspenti brand is engineered and optimized for the success of our Missions, Vision, and Values. He has an extensive background in behavior change and commercial marketing as well as media production.