Change the Narrative...

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IHI Open School Recover Hope Campaign

Unhealthy substance use is rampant around the world. Globally, the misuse of alcohol results in approximately 2.5 million deaths each year.1 In the United States in 2017, more than 72,000 people in died from drug overdoses — that's nearly 200 people every day.2 Around two-thirds of those overdose deaths were connected to misuse of prescription or illicit opioids.

Many factors have led to the opioid crisis, including:
  • An incomplete understanding of the biological and psychological underpinnings of pain by health care systems
  • A paradigm shift in medical education during the 1990s that framed pain as "the fifth vital sign"3
  • Unrealistic expectations many patients have of being pain-free
  • Promotion of opioid medications as nonaddictive by major pharmaceutical companies

Learn more about the context of the opioid epidemic in the IHI Innovation Report.

This crisis can be counted in numbers  — but also in stories. The Recover Hope Campaign is tackling the issue from the ground up, first by working to change the narrative on substance use disorders to decrease shame and stigma.

Campaign leaders share why they're taking action in this powerful video:

Open School change agents launched the Recover Hope Campaign to take action together to address this crisis.

Our vision is a world in which substance use disorders are not seen as a source of shame but as chronic diseases that can be prevented, managed, and treated; in which individuals are free of suffering caused by substance use disorders, communities thrive, and health care systems serve patients equitably and compassionately.

The Recover Hope Campaign aims to improve awareness, prevention, and treatment of substance use disorders to improve the lives of 50,000 people by April 2020.

Recover Hope Driver Diagram.jpg 

View this driver diagram in Portuguese, Spanish, or French. Ver em portuguê​s. Ver en español. Voir en français.


  1. Global status report on alcohol and health. World Health Organization. 2011.
  2. Vital Statistics Rapid Release: Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics. October 2018. 
  3. Martin L, Laderman M, Hyatt J, Krueger J. Addressing the Opioid Crisis in the United States. IHI Innovation Report. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Institute for Healthcare Improvement. April 2016.