Alkermes drafts former major leaguer to pitch his own story of alcohol dependency in its awareness effort

Former Major League Baseball player CC Sabathia leverages his own experience with alcohol dependence to encourage others to seek help. (Alkermes)

Alkermes is drafting a former Major League Baseball player who has struggled with his own alcohol addiction as spokesperson for its alcohol dependency awareness campaign.

World Series winner and longtime New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia joins forces with the pharma, relating his own experiences to help dispel the stigma around alcohol addiction.

Sabathia's openness about his past problems syncs with the disease education campaign goal to encourage people to examine their relationship with alcohol, Alkermes Vice President of Marketing Jed Rosenbaum said.

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“He's just a natural fit in a lot of ways, and for those of us who are sports fans, he's a sort of a larger than life figure,” he said.

Sabathia kicked off the partnership on a media tour, recounting his own struggles and directing people to Alkermes' unbranded "My Relationship with Alcohol" website for more information and help addressing the issue.

The ballplayer first opened up about his alcohol dependency in a 2016 essay published on former Yankees' teammate Derek Jeter's website, "The Players’ Tribune."

When Sabathia initially went public with his addiction, it wasn't about inspiring other people but rather to hold himself accountable after rehab, Rosenbaum said. When he realized he could make a difference in people’s lives, Sabathia committed to helping.

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In addition to the work with Sabathia, Alkermes is running digital ads and sponsored content to highlight other people's stories of dependency on its site. Alkermes is also working on a plan to incorporate influencers who are active in the recovery area.

The website, launched in April, is designed to help people identify and start discussions with their healthcare provider about their concerns.

While the campaign is unbranded, an option in the treatment section of the website lets viewers click through to a separate website and branded information on Alkermes' addiction drug, Vivitrol.