I believe that there is no reason for addiction to be one of the leading causes of death in the US. This is why we have a moral responsibility to educate and raise awareness for the life saving addiction treatment centers available every single day. We believe that by making effective addiction treatment available to everyone, we will begin to turn the tide on this epidemic, one life at a time.
As part of my series about the “Heroes of the Opioid Crisis” I had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Cassidy. Bill is the Creative Director of Recovery Centers of America, overseeing all creative production for each RCA addiction treatment facility. Prior to his role at RCA, Bill held positions as Director of Marketing in the field of addiction treatment where is was able to gain valuable experience crafting and implementing effective marketing and advertising strategies. Bill is passionate about helping those struggling with the disease of addiction and is grateful to work in a field where we are able to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Recovery Centers of America, headquartered outside of Philadelphia, PA, is a comprehensive, evidence-based addiction treatment company with eight facilities for treating those suffering from alcohol and drug addiction in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit of your backstory?
I grew up in Havertown, PA, just outside of Philadelphia and for as long as I can remember, I have always been a bit obsessive with movies, music, photography and various creative endeavors. I graduated college in 2008 and have been fortunate to land various marketing and advertising jobs which offered opportunities to work on creative projects of increasing scale. In 2014, I relocated to Jupiter, Florida to take a Director of Marketing position at an addiction treatment facility — my first professional experience in the field of addiction treatment. After my wife and I welcomed our daughter Annabelle to the world in 2016 we decide to move back home to Pennsylvania where I was able to join the Recovery Centers of America (RCA) team. I am now the Creative Director at RCA where I work with a talented team of designers and advertising expects whom collectively, produce all of the creative for each RCA facility.
Is there a particular story or incident that inspired you to get involved in your work with opioid addiction?
We want our commercials at Recovery Centers of America (“RCA”) to both educate and help people get into treatment. Our recent television commercial, “The Reality of Addiction: I Wish I Knew,” is powerful, moving, and unsettling on purpose — because it reminds us that death occurs every day with addiction. Death by drug overdose was the harsh reality for 72,000 families in 2017 during an opioid epidemic that plagues our country. While it does matter how we got here, it is even more important to focus on helping the victims of this epidemic. The people suffering from addiction to the powerful drugs on the street today, as well as their families and loved ones, are the victims and they need help and treatment, not judgment and stigma.
Our ad features a mother and son as they struggle with the son’s drug addiction, culminating in an emotional scene of the mother at a cemetery looking at her son’s grave.
This television spot is more emotionally powerful than ads RCA has done in the past, and we are committed to the message of the ad because it drives home the gravity of the devastating opioid epidemic that is killing so many people in this country.
In our ad, we wanted to demonstrate the harsh reality of drug addiction in order to get suffering people into treatment. The graphic scenes of drug use and the emotional but very real scene of the mother at her son’s grave in our messages underscores the need to act sooner rather than later if you suspect that a loved one is struggling with an addiction.
Can you describe how your work is making an impact battling this epidemic?
Our mission to save lives from the disease of addiction is critical. There has never been a greater need to help those struggling with this disease and we are at the forefront of an epidemic that is plaguing our Country. It is fulfilling as a Creative Director to be a part of this mission.
RCA’s treatment is designed to save lives from the disease of addiction, and I’ve witnessed its success first hand with the many many patients that I have interviewed were on the streets are now in recovery.
What makes our treatment particularly unique is that we never stop improving and we are constantly looking for unique therapies and programs we can implement to make our treatment even more effective. We’re always asking what’s best for our patient while looking at the problem through multiple lenses: what’s best for young adults, what’s best for first responders, how can we help chronic relapsers, how can we best treat co-occurring disorders, etc. We never stop looking for ways we can do things better.
Wow! Without sharing real names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by your initiative?
I feel most proud of my work at RCA when I meet our patients and hear their stories of recovery and how they overcame their addiction and are now living lives they never thought possible. Seeing the happiness and joy that our patients and their families radiate after treatment is truly rewarding and it is fulfilling to know your efforts might have played a small role in helping save someone’s life.
Can you share something about your work makes you most proud? Is there a particular story or incident that you found most uplifting?
The public perception of addiction has been changing dramatically over the past few years which has allowed us as a society to begin treating addiction as a disease just like any other. The stigma that has for so long been tied to addiction is beginning to fade and people are beginning to realize that it is okay to ask for help. As a society, we need to continue to support organizations and initiatives that assist individuals seeking treatment for addiction while understanding this epidemic will only be solved when we come together to find solutions that work for all of us.
I know that this is not easy work. What keep you going?
Our work pales in comparison to the work our patients are putting in each and every day which makes it easy to keep going. Knowing that our work helps save lives from addiction is the best professional accomplishment I could imagine.
Do you have hope that one day this leading cause of death can be defeated?
I believe that there is no reason for addiction to be one of the leading causes of death in the US which is why we have a moral responsibility to educate and raise awareness for the life saving addiction treatment that places like Recovery Centers of America make available to our patients every single day. We believe that by making effective addiction treatment available to everyone, we will begin to turn the tide on this epidemic, one life at a time.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
People are literally dying on the streets of our cities from drug addiction. Leadership means that you will carry your mission forward and consider every avenue available to you in order to accomplish your mission. RCA’s mission is to save one million lives. Our “Reality of Addiction” advertising campaign has received both positive and negative feedback.
However, RCA believes strongly that the real insensitivity today is the fact that so many of our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, family members, and friends died last year of opioid overdoses.
Over 2000 people died from opioid overdoses last year in Massachusetts, over 3000 in New Jersey, over 1600 in Maryland, and a staggering 5400 Pennsylvanians overdosed and died in 2018, and it was similar across the country.
What is far more upsetting than a reality-based advertisement is that fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and the number of fentanyl-related deaths are at an all-time high nationwide. People are dying every single day of Fentanyl overdoses across the country because they often don’t realize that the drugs they are taking contain this poisonous powerful synthetic narcotic.
It is very difficult to get people in the midst of an addiction into treatment. “The Reality of Addiction: I Wish I Knew” ad is part of a Recovery Centers of America effort to create a real sense of urgency so that those suffering from addiction will seek treatment for their disease. Saving lives is the point of our message and will continue to be the focus of our company. We will not rest until we fulfill our mission of saving one million lives.