Assessing the reach and engagement with the ‘How To Save A Life’ mass media campaign on drug-related death prevention in Scotland

M. Anderson*, A.M. Atkinson, A. McAuley, H.R. Sumnall, M.E. Glancy, H.A. Bloomfield, K.M.A. Trayner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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‘How To Save A Life’ (HTSAL) was a mass media campaign on drug-related death prevention which ran in Scotland from August 2021 to January 2022. It aimed to increase awareness of how to respond to an opioid overdose, and the uptake of take-home naloxone (THN). The objective of this study was to determine the reach and engagement with the campaign. Methods included a descriptive analysis of data from media sources, the campaign website, and an online naloxone training course. A quantitative content analysis was conducted on media articles. The campaign generated 57,402,850 non-unique impressions (the total number of times the campaign was seen or heard), and unique reach (the number of people who were exposed to the campaign) figures of 2,621,450. Engagement with the campaign was positive, and 96% of print/digital media articles had a positive view of the campaign. There were 40,714 visits to the campaign website, leading to 8,107 clicks to the free naloxone training course, and 3,141 clicks to order a free naloxone kit. This study showed that mass media campaigns on drug policy topics can achieve high levels of reach and engagement. There was a clear progression from viewing campaign materials, to visiting the campaign website, to completing naloxone training. Our research suggests that mass media campaigns can be used to disseminate harm reduction messages to the general public.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDrugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
Early online date27 Sept 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Sept 2023


  • engagement
  • harm reduction
  • mass media campaigns
  • Naloxone
  • public health
  • reach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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