For Our Lives

For Washington State Health Care Authority

Native storytellers share their voices to help prevent overdose deaths.

To reach Native audiences, we worked with people from tribes throughout Washington state to tell their stories related to addiction, treatment, recovery and stigma. These storytellers share vital information about how to protect yourself and others against fentanyl.


For Our Lives is rooted in listening. Interviews and conversations with Native people from tribes throughout the state, including behavioral health professionals, helped us develop a nuanced campaign that reflects real experience. Visual exploration of Native color and pattern elements and academic research by Native scholars when possible, rounded out our research.

Community engagement

Native partners and reviewers shared their perspectives, expertise and feedback throughout campaign development. Their insights made the materials feel relevant and appropriate. A review group of people from tribes, Native-serving organizations and workgroups shared feedback and insights through email and listening sessions. We also shared campaign news and invited feedback from tribal leaders and representatives, and from a statewide Native-specific opioid-response group.

Editorial approach

For Our Lives took a journalistic approach to storytelling through videos, a website and other pieces. By telling real stories about Native people’s work to prevent fentanyl overdose, we centered their voices while sharing information that others could use to take action, too. Native-owned production company Counting Coup and photographer Jack George, a member of the Yakama Nation collaborated with us to bring this approach to life. These partners brought their own cultural knowledge to the work and a sense of ease to campaign participants.

For Our Lives campaign rack card to prevent overdose deaths

Design system

The campaign’s design system accommodated and reflected the diversity and beauty of Native lives. It pulled rich, vibrant colors from the environments surrounding photo subjects, or their clothing or jewelry. Graphic elements evoked – without mimicking – patterns and movement found in tribal visual identities and cultural expressions. The result was a look and feel that tribal members and descendants throughout Washington told us felt familiar and welcoming.

For Our Lives posters of creative campaign about native overdose prevention

Custom-made materials

Native tribes are diverse. We worked closely with individual tribes and Native-serving organizations to customize For Our Lives toolkit materials to meet their communities’ preferences and needs. For example, we used different photography and colors to ensure pieces felt relevant to the tribe’s geography, demographics and culture. We also added information directing tribal members to specific tribal resources. If available toolkit materials didn’t meet a tribe’s needs, we created new pieces.

For Our Lives campaign stickers buttons and other materials for native audiences to prevent overdose deaths

Storytelling videos 

Real people’s real strength formed the backbone of this campaign, with participants telling their stories in their own words and in their own homes and environments. We worked with storytellers before our filming days to help them feel comfortable and prepared. This also ensured they addressed key campaign messages about harm reduction, treatment, recovery and stigma related to drug use and addiction.

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